Page 1

An Illustrated Dictionary of

The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya M A R Y M IL L E R A N D KARL T A U B E


A n illu s tr a te d D ic tio n a r y o f

The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya


An Illustrated Dictionary of

The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya MARY MILLER AND KARL TAUBE

W ITH

T& H

260

ILLUSTRATIONS

THAMES AND HUDSON


For Michael D. Coe

FronfMptecí?. The Aztec Calendar Stone found beneath the centra! plaza of Mexico City. The monument is not a fully functioning calendar, but commemorates the Rve mythica! world-creations (the Five Suns). Any copy of this book issued by the publisher as a paperback is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including these words being imposed on a subsequent purchaser. (§) 1993 Thames and Hudson Ltd, London First paperback edition 1997 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 0-500-27928-4 Printed and bound in Singapore by C.S. Graphics


Contents

Reader's Guide 6

Acknowledgments 7 Introduction 9 Subject Index 36 THE DICTIONARY 38 Guide to Sources and Bibliography 194 Sources of Illustrations 215


Masonry baHcourts are one of the defining features of Mesoamerican civihzation. (A¿?oye) A baUcourt at the Cfassic Maya site of Copán in Honduras. (Be/ow) A Ciassic period Zapotee baHcourt at Monte A lbán ,Oaxaca.


Introduction

Mesoamerican Culture and Chronology Archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians use the term Mesoamerica to describe the known world of the Aztecs in 1519. It encompasses much of modern Mexico - as far north as the old Aztec frontier with the Chichimecs or "barbarians," where non-agricultural, nomadic peoples lived - and the Maya realm in eastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and the western strip of Honduras and El Salvador, and on down through Nicaragua, incorporating the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Sharing a constellation of beliefs and practices, highly developed civilizations among different cultures and ethnic groups first rose in Mesoamerica around 1000 Be and then thrived off and on for 3000 years. What makes them all part of a Mesoamerican tradition are such things as use of the unusual 260-day calendar, a rubber ballgame played in an alley deSned by two parallel structures, and use of cement made by burning limestone or shells, as well as many more subtle patterns of life and belief. Mesoamericans never saw themselves as a unity, and indeed, no single dominant culture ever imposed unity on them, but they were interested in each other, in their various pasts, and even, in some cases, in leaving a record for the future. Early Settlement The early peopling and settlement of the Americas remains obscure. Certainly by 15,000 years ago, waves of people had crossed the Bering Strait during times of low water, and by 10,000 years ago people were living within the bounds of Mesoamerica. The Brst widespread reliable evidence for humans in the Western Hemisphere comes around 12,000 years ago, with the makers of flint and other stone fluted points called Clovis. For some 3,000 years, nomadic hunters migrated into Mesoamer­ ica, perhaps in search of megafauna, and archaeologists have found human remains with those of the long-extinct mammoth. Generations later, humans would domesticate small animals, including the dog and turkey, but no large mammals would be available for domestication. Around 7000 BC, the New World began to dry out. At this point, during what is called the Archaic, people in Mesoamerica $lowly shifted their way of life, as many animal species vanished from the planet and humans adapted to the warmer, drier environment. The domestication of major foodstuffs in Mesoamerica accompanied and fueled the impulse to settled life, eventually supporting the development and growth of civilization. A primitive but domesticated maize can be documented by 3500 B e . Waves of migration continued after the onset of sedentary life. The Nahuatlspeaking peoples of Central Mexico may have been among the latest arrivals. When they migrated south, they left their linguistic cousins among the Uto-Aztecan language group behind, largely within the borders of the United States and Canada. The Aztecs spoke Nahuatl, as did their predecessors, the Toltecs, and although


INTRODUCTION

10

CENTRAL MEXICO

1519

LATE POSTCLASSIC

OAXACA

Mixtee independent

s

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WEST MEXICO

MAYA HIGHLANDS/ PACIFIC COAST

Aztecs

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< 1200

EARLY POSTCLASSÍC 900

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71u/a

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M tb Pa^gu/

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P angue,

600

LATE CLASSIC

Albán IUb >

1 EA RLY Cl .ASSIC 300

Centra! Yucatán

ne

M A! bán 111a

M

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j

/r

5 M A!bán H

PptOTOCt^ASSIC

CAupIenaro

AD BC

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Xam/na^nyd,

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300

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600

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900

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Chronological chart for Mesoamerica.

linguists disagree about the language of Teotihuacan - the single largest city in Mesoamerica during the Erst millennium AD - it may well have been the Erst important Nahuatl civilization. Timescales Archaeologists and anthropologists have divided the chronology of Mesoamerica and assigned terminology to the various periods. During the Archaic (7000-2000 B e )


11

INTRODUCTION

people gradually domesticated plants, especially the important foodstuffs maize, beans, squash, chili peppers, and avocados, as well as animals, particularly the turkeys and dogs already mentioned, although others were hunted to extinction as village life took root. The Formative period - also known as the Preclassic - is defined as beginning with the introduction of pottery and settled life c. 2000 Be. (Early pottery manufacture is known in Colombia and Ecuador, and even earlier reports have now been offered from the Amazon; pottery technology may have been slowly diffused from South America.) The Formative era ushers in the Brst high civilizations in Mesoamerica - the Olmec and Zapotee - and ends around 100 BC. During the Protoclassic, roughly 100 BC-AD 300, the patterns for the great Classic cultures began to be established. The Classic, AD 300-900, roughly coincides with the flourishing of Teotihuacan in highland Mexico and the Maya cities in lowland Yucatan, Guatemala, and Belize, although by AD 300, Teotihuacan was a fully blossoming culture, while the Maya were still nascent. Scholars introduced the term Classic to describe the Maya at Tikal, Palenque, Copan and elsewhere, peoples who were falsely believed to have dwelt in a peaceful realm under an idyllic theocracy. Investigators also called contemporary states at Monte Alban and Teotihuacan theocracies; the term "Classic" itself initially carried a value judgment that equated these civilizations with the achievements of the Classical Greeks. We use it in this book without prejudice to describe the timd period AD 300-900 and note that it - and other periodizations - inaccurately suggest a cultural lockstep throughout Mesoamerica. The term Terminal Classic is used here to refer to the last century of the Classic era, when Teotihuacan had already fallen into decline and many Maya cities faltered. New stars rose and fell quickly during the Terminal Classic, including such significant developments as those at Cacaxtla and Xochicalco. During the Early Postclassic, AD900-1200, the Toltecs dominated the Mesoamerican picture. Although the Aztecs are the featured players of Mesoamerica during the Late Postclassic (1200 to the Spanish Conquest), the Maya, Totonacs, Huastecs, Mixtees, and Tarascans all remained important. Topography and Trade Rugged, high mountain chains run north to south along the eastern and western sides of Mesoamerica and then cut across its middle, cinching it like a belt studded with volcanoes, from the Valley of Mexico to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Mesoamerica offers every possible ecological niche of the tropics, from hot, dry or wet, to cooler, drier highlands, including in between the rare cloud forest, where tropical vegetation flourishes at 3000-4000 feet (900-1200 meters) of altitude, offering the ideal environment for the quetzal, a bird known throughout Mesoamerica and held precious for its brilliant blue-green plumage. Although no quetzal ever Rew near the cool and high (7500 feet, .2300 meters) capital of the Aztecs at Tenochtitlan, quetzal feathers formed their most prized headdresses. Some Maya kings were known as Ă ruAr, the Maya word for quetzal, and on the eve of the Spanish Conquest, Quetzalcoatl, one of the greatest and oldest gods in Mesoamerica, was known throughout the region. His very name suggests the opposition of air and earth (giie%za/ = bird, coa%7 = snake), the duality that characterized Mesoamerican life and religion. Few Mesoamerican civilizations integrated the sharply varying environments of the region, and the differing resources offered keen opportunities for trade. The


12

INTRODUCTION

^ C

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ArTrEofinM^cjAi

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Map of Mesoamerica showing the principa! sites mentioned in the text.

Aztecs lived too high for cotton to grow, and so the cotton mantle functioned as a standard of exchange in their dominion. On his last voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus encountered Maya traders plying the waters o? Honduras in ocean-going canoes piled high with woven cottons, part of the vast web of Mesoamerican trade and tribute about which relatively little is known. Throughout Mesoamerica, highland obsidian from volcanic Hows commanded high values, since all households sought blades from this "steer' of the native New World. And wherever volcanoes erupted, they renewed and enriched the soil. Today coHee plantations have generally replaced tracts of cacao trees and vanilla orchids that once Hourished along the PaciHc Coast of Guatemala and Chiapas and in Veracruz,


13

INTRODUCTION

/

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but cacao beans once functioned as a near-currency throughout Mesoamerica. How tempting to imagine such edible money! ^

^

Technology By the time of the Spanish Conquest, Mesoamerican technology had progressed to what archaeologists call '*New Stone Age/' in that some metals were worked but played little practical role as tools. Copper axes were a relatively recent phenomenon; stone axes and Hint knives, along with diverse obsidian blades, were the main tools with which generations of people had quarried stone, cut flesh and hide, and brought down the forest. The gold and silver that so astonished the European invaders


tNTHODUCflON

14

formed religious works or jewelry; the Europeans were equally astonished by the greater value Mesoamericans attributed to jade. Blue-green, like the most precious things of the Mesoamerican world (quetzal feathers or maize foliage or water), jade symbolized preciousness. The hardest stone commonly known in Mesoamerica, jade also signified permanence, and when Maya nobles died, they carried such a bead in their mouth to enter the Underworld. Throughout the world, the wheel often played a role in religious imagery, but in Mesoamerica (as in the rest of the New World), no wheel was ever developed for mundane purposes - although graves in Veracruz have yielded wheeled toy-like objects - perhaps because of the absence of draft animals. Today, as in Prehispanic times, in many regions men and women are the beasts of burden, and Mesoamerican people carry heavy loads on their backs with tumplines stretched across their foreheads. DeSning Mesoamerican Civilization What distinguishes civilization from what has gone before it? Is it exploitation of new resources, or competition to control them? Is civilization initiated by new ideological concepts or only heightened by them? Are newly expanded populations a requirement for civilization, or its by-product? In a world so technologically simple as Mesoamerica, does technology play a role in its "take-off"? Anthropologists offer no single answer - although they would check yes to a number of the queries offered above - nor do they agree on its causes. Despite their differences, they usually agree that complex culture in Mesoamerica began to take shape during the Formative period, in both the Olmec region and in Oaxaca, with the development of what are usually called chiefdoms. What marks the rise of complex culture in Mesoamerica is the emergence of recognizable shared practices and principles at several locations and the subsequent subscription to them by others at yet more distant locations. Through long-distance trade, early Mesoamericans began to recognize the extent of their world. Through surpluses amassed (probably through trade or warfare), some families began to have what we call wealth, that is, the wherewithal to devote themselves to activities outside food production, and the Erst surviving works of art give evidence of that leisure time. Through shared religious practices, the efEcacy of the gods became manifest. Through both ancestor worship and a desire to leave a record for posterity, they began to record linear time. Once they sought permanence in the materials they transformed, they left a record that modern people can consider evidence of a complex society, or, in ordinary language, civilization. At the end of the Formative period, early states developed, with special hierarchies among administrative centers, towns, and hamlets. States gather a surplus from tribute or tax, and they use force to back up their sanctions against reluctant contributors. They also develop systems of notation. A surplus can support full-time specialists who give up agricultural endeavors and devote themselves to the arts or religion. Although anthropologists agree that state-level political organization characterizes civilization, the charismatic complex culture of the Olmecs is more baiSing, partly because we know so little about their political organization. They made small cities, but we do not know whether they functioned as city-states, like those of the later Maya. They traveled long distances, presumably to seek precious trade goods, but did they use force?


15

INTRODUCTION

The Olmec Enigma The CHmecs emerged about 1200 Be along the slow-moving rivers of lowland Veracruz and Tabasco, when people first began to make a permanent record of gods and rulers, with a standardized means of codification, in the ceremonial precincts of their settlements. The ethnic identity of these early people now dubbed the 01 mees remains unknown (although some have speculated that they may have spoken a Mixe-Zoquean or Mayan language), and in the absence of archaeological data, the size and extent of their cities or sites is also a blank. Earlier Mesoamerican peoples must surely have worshipped a complex range of gods, but it was not until the time of the Olmecs that schematic representations came to portray specific gods and god-complexes. Incised flame eyebrows on a small pot might cue the observer to a powerful sky-dragon, and the symbol could reach beyond both local time and geography. What distinguishes the Olmec civilization is its making of a permanent record of religion and ritual that can be recognized today. The nature of Olmec civilization remains obscured by time and lack of preservation, but it clearly offered unifying religious principles and a model for emulation by peoples all across Mesoamerica. For a thousand years or so and across a broad and varied geography the Olmecs communicated using a standard notation for symbols and gods, most of which has so far proved impenetrable. The complexity itself suggests the rise of priests and shamans, specialists who manipulated and interpreted the system and who could make manifest religious experience and share it with a broader populace. One imagines that the Olmecs had developed a systematic cosmology to explain creation, the origins of humankind, and the movement of heavenly bodies, and they seem to have used the human body as a metaphor of the cosmos. Living in the tropical rain forest, the Olmecs identified with the powerful animals that, like humans, occupied the top of the food chain - felines, eagles, caimans, and snakes - and recognized that they shared with them the consumption of flesh. And they first gave permanence to practices and preoccupations that endured in Mesoamerica - human sacrifice, bloodletting, pilgrimages, quadripartite division of the world, cave rituals, the offering of caches, and a fascination with mirrors among them - until the Spanish Conquest, and in some cases long afterward. Three major Olmec sites are known for the Gulf Coast lowlands: San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Laguna de los Cerros. San Lorenzo thrived first, probably by 1200 B e , and suffered what seems to have been brutal destruction c. 900 B e , about the time La Venta began to flourish. No certain data are available for Laguna de los Cerros, as yet unexcavated. All three sites share layouts based on bilateral symmetry, a preoccupation of Olmec art and symbolism as well, in which mirror images fall along a central axis. La Venta features the Brst pyramidal form of Mesoamerican architecture, what is perhaps a radial pyramid but which has also been interpreted as a volcano effigy. At La Venta the Olmecs buried pavements and caches following a pattern along the central axis; at San Lorenzo, basalt sculptures were interred along the edges of a vast ceremonial platform. The Olmecs carved huge thrones (dubbed "altars" by early scholars) from which lords presumably ruled; the Olmecs commemorated their powerful lords with portraits in colossal heads. Olmec stone sculpture achieved a high, naturalistic plasticity, yet it has no surviving prototypes, as if this powerful ability to represent both nature and abstract concepts was a native invention of this early civilization.


INTRODUCTION

16

Early in the 8rst millennium Be, the Olmecs forged connections across Mesoamerica, from Central America to western Mexico, perhaps in search of scarce highland resources, particular!y jade, from which they carved precious objects. By 900 Be, the nascent Maya civilization at Copan made imitations of Olmec ceramics and jade. In western Mexico, the Olmecs encountered a sophisticated culture at Xochipala, where naturalistic human Bgures had been made after 1500 Be. Later, coeval with La Venta, the Olmecs covered the giant rock outcropping at Chalcatzingo, Morelos, with depictions of their lords and gods. Olmec-style petroglyphs also mark the cliffs of highland Guatemala and Chiapas, further suggesting Olmec contacts in the Maya region. They established a highland center at Teopantecuanitlan, Guerrero; Olmec artists also made paintings celebrating cave rituals at Cacahuazqui, Juxtlahuaca, and Oxtotitlan. In Central Mexico, the Olmecs encountered communities with welldeveloped traditions of Sgurine manufacture at Tlatilco and elsewhere. These places subsequently adopted Olmec forms and imagery and in modern times have yielded the Snest Olmec ceramic sculpture, particularly large hollow "babies/' The Early Zapotees and Their Contemporaries By 600 Be, if not earlier, civilization also rose in Oaxaca among the Zapotees, who began to reshape the hillside acropolis of Monte Albรกn into their capital. The Zapotees early on dominated the region and commemorated their victories by recording dates in the 260-day calendar and depicting captives with what are probably their names and places of origin on buildings such as the so-called Temple of the Danzantes ("Dancers ') at Monte Albรกn. The Zapotees probably invented Mesoamerican writing, and they may also have devised the first systems for recording time. At the end of the Formative era, the Zapotees constructed Mound J at Monte Mound j at Monte Albรกn, Oaxaca. Possibly an observatory, the structure features walls covered with more than 50 carved slabs describing the conquests of. the early Zapotees.


17

INTRODUCTION

Albán (and at least one other similar building at Caballito Blanco), an unusual pointer-shaped building, possibly an observatory oriented toward the rise of the star Capella on the night of the Brst zenith passage. These buildings probably conBrm knowledge of a large body of star lore. Toward the end of the Formative era, from 100 Be to AD 300 or what is also termed the Protoclassic, many of the principles and beliefs common to Classicperiod civilization appear to have come together, particularly along the axis of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and ranging from Atlantic to PaciBc Coasts, at places as far-flung as Monte Albán, Dainzú, Tres Zapotes, La Mojarra, Chiapa de Corzo, Izapa, and Kaminaljuyú. Across the region, the Principal Bird Deity - probably the same as Vucub Caquix of the PopcV VuA (the native epic of the Quiche Maya transcribed into the Roman alphabet at the time of the Conquest) - gained prominence; the PopoV VuA account of origins, humanity's relationship to chaos, and the Hero Twins' harrowing of the Underworld, may have been widely subscribed to. Tres Zapotes in the Olmec Gulf Coast heartland may have flourished about the time of La Venta, and also exhibits some late Olmec colossal heads, but the site experienced continued occupation into the Protoclassic, and old Olmec concepts underlay the foundation of new Mesoamerican ones shared from Oaxaca to Honduras. Working at Tres Zapotes in the 1930s, Matthew Stirling found part of what seemed to him to be a date written in the place-notationa! calendar generally called the Long Count and most prevalent among the later Maya. Although Tres Zapotes Stela C lacked its Brst number glyph, Stirling correlated the date to 32 B e , and subsequent discovery of the upper fragment conBrmed his reading. Other early Long Count dates occur at Chiapa de Corzo, on the Tuxtla Statuette, and on La Mojarra Stela 1, which bears two dates in the second century AD and which depicts a standing lord wearing the Principal Bird Deity headdress and adorned in regalia like that of later Maya kings. Together, these and other examples give evidence of the development of a new eastern Mesoamerican tradition that emphasized dynastic rule and a method of recording time and space permanently using calendrics and phonetic writing. In this way, linear time as well as cyclical time gained prominence. Phonetic writing was reBned and elaborated by the Maya, but even in its earliest appearance, it probably allowed the rough replication of speech. The Protoclassic Maya It is the special characteristic of their writing that sets the Maya apart from all other Mesoamerican peoples. It is probably the technology of writing itself that enabled them to be what they were. Had the Maya Bourished at a single center, say, at Tikal - as Teotihuacan civilization had done at Teotihuacan or Zapotee civilization at Monte Alban - they would not seem so extraordinary to us. But it was their ability to communicate across distance and through time, to remember a particular history and to write for posterity, that allowed dozens of cities and towns to subscribe to a single reigning belief system. At Protoclassic Izapa, the Maya broadcast their religious ideology on stelae and on pairs of altars and stelae, presenting the Brst public conBrmation of certain gods Chac, for example - and the rich narrative of the PopoV VuA, as well as of certain concepts, such as the World Tree. At Abaj Takalik, stelae depict single and paired lords adorned with the regalia of rulership and accompanying texts, of which only dates can be read. Kaminaljuyú lords commissioned their portraits in the costume of the Principal Bird Deity and received rich offerings when subsequently interred.


INTRODUCTION

18

A single Kaminaljuyu slab depicts a sequence of enthroned lords and kneeling captives suggestive of a genealogy. Giant toad sculptures there may indicate the incorporation of the toad in religious ritual. Perhaps aided by the new technology of writing, Maya speakers in disparate locations a!! began to recognize shared religious imagery and the cult of the ruler. At sites a!! across the Maya lowlands in the Protoclassic, but especially as known from archaeology at El Mirador, Nakbé, Uaxactún, and Cerros, the Maya began to build huge pyramidal structures and cover their main facades with stucco ornament shaped to represent the heads of various deities. These configurations fall into no uniform cosmogram but vary from place to place. Jaguars, probably representing the night sun, often occur on the lowest level, with the Principal Bird Deity on top; at Uaxactún, at least one early pyramid is conBgured as a sacred mountain, or Uitz, from which maize issues. At the end of the Protoclassic, some Maya sites, inciuding El Mirador and Cerros, suffered near-abandonment. Although most known West Mexican art derives from looted tombs in the states of Jaiisco, Colima, and Nayarit (which have given their names to related but distinct sty!es of ceramic forms), a few careful excavations place the height of ceremonial activity and use of the shaft tombs during the Protoclassic. Recent excavation and survey at Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, and highland Jalisco indicate that West Mexico participated in Mesoamerican ceremonialism during the period, particularly in the construction of vast platforms and round structures. The Rise of Teotihuacan During the Protoclassic, two large centers emerged in Central Mexico, Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan, but the latter gained prominence after volcanic eruptions buried Cuicuilco and its massive round platform by A D 100. Teotihuacan thrived, and by AD 250, many of its most famous buildings, including the Pyramids of the Sun, Moon, and Quetzalcoatl, rose from the high, arid city, following a rigid grid. Paintings of supernatural beings and religious practices covered the walls of shrines, temples, and dwellings. Archaeologists have supposed that Teotihuacan may have held some 200,000 souls at its peak in the Classic era, many of whom lived within the closed apartment compounds that Blled the interstices of the grid. Although the presence of "foreigners" - in particular, an enclave of Zapotees - can be discerned in the archaeological record of Teotihuacan, the ethnic identity of the Teotihuacanos remains unknown, although various Nahua speakers, Totonacs, and Otomis have all been named as candidates. The tradition of Teotihuacan is what we can call western Mesoamerican, and it emphasizes community over dynastic rule, cyclical time over linear, and offers a separate religious pantheon from that of the Maya and other peoples in eastern Mesoamerica. In fact, an explosion of new iconography and beliefs characterizes early Teotihuacan, developing essentially ex mAr/o. During the Early Classic, the Maya and Teotihuacanos became keenly aware of one another and their separate religious practices. The Maya adopted many Teotihuacan practices, particularly the cult of war, its patrons and regalia, while ignoring others, such as its many female deities. The Teotihuacanos surely knew of and recognized the flexibility of the Maya writing system, but they chose not to adapt it to their own needs: in fact, they may have banished it from their city, and the recently documented paintings from Techinantitla that feature isolated glyphs, probably names of people and places, may only prove the point by demonstrating how different Teotihuacan writing is.


19

INTRODUCTION

Aeria! view of the great city of Teotihuacan, with the Pyramid of the Moon in the foreground, and the Pyramid of the Sun in the center.

Although the ceremonial precinct of Teotihuacan was ravaged by Sres c. AD 725, the city was still occupied for many generations, and even after its abandonment it held a place in the religious imagery of all subsequent Central Mexican civilizations. The Aztecs conceived of it as the setting of cosmogonic events, and Motecuhzoma II made pilgrimages there. The Classic Zapotees arid Classic Veracruz All Mesoamerica flourished during the Classic era. Monte Alban grew in both scale and population: temples ringed the ceremonial precinct and a powerful nobility inhabited adjoining palaces. Particularly important persons received interment in underground tombs that sometimes bore elaborate paintings. Ceramic urns featuring the Zapotee pantheon accompanied the dead, as did abundant vessels for food and drink. Stone stelae at Monte Alban show what may be Zapotee rulers and some examples depict Teotihuacan visitors, characterized by distinct costume. Although never completely abandoned, Monte Alban fell into disrepair during the Postclassic,


[NTRODUCTÍON

20

and the Mixtees emptied out old Zapotee tombs and reused them for their own nob!e dead. No single city dominated the Gulf Coast during the Classic era, nor did competing centers display a unity of belief and ritual, although modern understanding of the region has been hampered by rampant looting and insufficient archaeology. In much of southern Veracruz, at places like Las Remojadas, thousands of "smiling" figurines have been exhumed; other sites have yielded life-size hollow ceramic tomb sculptures. Dramatic paintings of bloodletting have been uncovered at Las Higueras. To the north, El Tajin dominated the region, particularly during the Late Classic, under the Huastecs, who spoke a Mayan language. Acres of temples and palaces survive. The Pyramid of the Niches at El Tajin features 365 empty niches, perhaps a calendrical reference, although other buildings use varied niche configurations. Ballcourts and ballgame paraphernalia abound, and architectural sculpture illustrates the playing of the game and human sacrifice. The Classic Maya In the 3rd c. AD, the Maya cities in the tropica! lowlands continued to thrive under dynastic kings. As demonstrated archaeologically at Tikal, the portraits of individual rulers were carved on stone monuments with accompanying texts that glorified their reign, and competing Maya dynasties emerged at Uaxactún, Xultún, Río Azul, and elsewhere in the Petén; by AD 500, Caracol, Copán, Yaxchilán, Piedras Negras, Bonampak, Calakmul and other cities emerged as the centers of small but ambitious polities. Tikal may well have been the Erst dynasty to exploit the ideology and technology of warfare promulgated by Teotihuacan when it took hold of power at Uaxactún. Maya rulers began to record their victories, parentage, and the passage of time itself on their monuments. Archaeologists had long used the 6th c. lapse in hieroglyphic inscriptions at Tikal to divide Early from Late Classic; that lapse has now been explained by the ignominious defeat of Tikal by Caracol in a six-year war, an event proudly recorded by Caracol upon its culmination in 562. Although Tikal recovered its economic well-being by the 8th c., its ruling family was apparently rent by the defeat, and, after establishing themselves in the Petexbatún, one competing branch caused Tikal plenty of trouble. During the 8th c., the Maya nobility experienced both unparalleled wealth and unprecedented problems. All across the region, polity fought with polity, kings fell captive and suffered sacrifice. Populations grew rapidly and degraded the environment in desperate attempts to cultivate sufficient food. At the end of the 8th c. and over the course of the 9th c., ceremonial precincts fell into disrepair and abandonment in what has been called the Classic Maya collapse; populations shrank, although the entire region was still populated at the time of the Conquest. During the 9th c., Maya kings at Uxmal and elsewhere in the Puuc hills commissioned elaborate buildings before these, too, suffered abandonment. To modern viewers, Maya cities often seem a baffling web of rambling structures punctuated by tall pyramids, all laid out randomly across the tropical landscape. Maya cities lack streets and later buildings overlie earlier ones, further complicating the picture. But these buildings bear fundamental meanings and many had specific uses. Most tall pyramidal buildings house tombs underneath them (the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque and Temple I at Tikal are the best-known examples), enshrining ancestors and revealing the Maya cult of ancestor worship, which in practice may have been the primary form of religious devotion. And, particularly


21

INTRODUCTION

(Top and above) The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque contained the tomb of the Late Classic Maya king, Paca!. The cutaway view illustrates the stairway leading down to the tomb. (Left) Temple I at Tikal in Guatemala also housed a major tomb, in this case of the Late Classic Ruler A. Here, however, as was the case with most Maya tombs, the burial chamber lacked a stairway.


INTRODUCTION

22

Late Classic polychrome mural from Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala. Standing on a Feathered Serpent, the figure is clad in a bird costume and carries a ceremonial bar.

as revealed by painted ceramics of the Late Classic period and in the Bonampak murรกis, a burgeoning Maya elite lived rich and abundant lives within their palaces where they engaged in courtly arts, including writing and painting. The Termina! Classic The decline of both Teotihuacan and the Maya cities left a power vacuum in Mesoamerica by the 9th c. Regional cultures flourished at Xochicalco, Cholula, and Cacaxtla in the Mexican highlands; profoundly affected by foreign influence, the Maya city of Seibal underwent a renewal; although El Tajin, too, went into decline along the Gulf Coast, the Huastecs flourished, as did Zapotees south of Monte Alban, at Mitla and Yagul. The period seems to have been a time of great interregional interchange, and both Maya iconography and formal concepts became part of a new Mesoamerican synthesis that may have been possible only with the demise of Teotihuacan. By 900, however, a new force had appeared on the scene: the Toltecs. The Ear!y Postdassic: Tu!a and Chichen Itza From their high, arid, cool capital of Tula (or Tollan), the Toltecs took on aspects of the Teotihuacan heritage that served their purposes. They adopted many of their


23

INTRODUCTION

gods, left little evidence of public writing, and tike the Teotihuacanos, tived in patace compounds. Of at! Mesoamerican traders, the Tottecs are perhaps the most tegendary: they forayed into the far north, to what is now the American Southwest, to trade for turquoise, but they estabtished their most profound contacts with the Maya at Chichen Itzรก in northern Yucatan and capitalized on the integration of Mesoamerica. Around the year 900, Chichen Itzรก rose to new prominence and may wet! have been the largest city in Mesoamerica. Its Sacred Cenote was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations of the ancient Mesoamerican world. Whether through voluntary alliance or through domination by one culture of the other, the Toltecs and Maya developed new forms of architecture and sculpture - including cAacmoo/s (stone sculptures of reclining human forms that received human sacrifices) and serpent columns - that flourished at both cities. Whereas the old Maya order invested its power in the individual ruler and his or her cult, at Chichen and Tula it is the position and power of the warrior-king, rather than his lineage and portrait, that holds sway. As a result, ruler portraits vanished from Chichen, to be replaced by carved thrones, on which any suitable candidate might sit. Mayan hieroglyphic texts nevertheless record the names of those who ruled in the period. At Tula, perhaps initially a major receptor for Maya ideology, ruler portraits on stone slabs were tried before the practice was abandoned. Although heart sacriSce was known to the earlier Maya, at Chichen Itzรก it took on new ritual force after its introduction in the Toltec era. Like all centers of Mesoamerican civilizations, Chichen and Tula eventually both fell into decline, and by no later than the 12th c., Mesoamerica entered a period when no major city or culture exerted much influence beyond its local region. At Mayapan, Maya lords built a walled city and reigned for almost two centuries. In

Reconstruction drawing of the Early Postclassic site of Chichen Itzรก, Yucatรกn. The Sacred Cenote, from which the site took its name, is depicted in the foreground.


[INTRODUCTION

24

the final centuries before the Spanish Conquest, the Yucatec Maya had organized themselves into balkanized, quarreling states, using different styles and media to record their gods and their rituals at Santa Rita, Tulum, and elsewhere, and in the four surviving Maya codices. In the Guatemalan highlands, Maya lords ruled from hilltop acropolises. In 1524, the Spanish allied with the Cakchiquel at Iximche to defeat the Quiche Maya at Utatlan. After the Conquest, a QuichĂŠ nobleman used the European alphabet to transcribe his people's sacred book, the Pqpo/ VuA. Other important religious texts, including the Books of Chilam Balam, were transcribed through the late 1700s. The Postclassic Mixtees and Aztecs In Oaxaca, the Mixtees rose to power during the Postclassic. They took over some of the ancient places sacred to the Zapotees, and they began to inter their noble dead in the old Zapotee tombs at Monte Alban. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, they kept genealogies documenting both continuity and internecine strife over generations. The Aztecs referred to great artisans as fo/feca, but the greatest resident craft specialists in Tenochtitlan at the time of the Conquest were the Mixtees, known for their skills in metalwork and mosaics. Alfonso Caso s discovery of a royal Mixtee tomb at Monte AlbĂĄn in 1932 offered the 20th c. the closest comparisons we may ever have to what Aztec gold may have looked like, since so little gold from Tenochtitlan survived the Spanish invasion. After years of nomadic wandering, a warlike group of Nahuatl speakers founded their capital on an island in Lake Texcoco in 1345. They called themselves the Mexica and their city Mexico-Tenochtitlan, or Tenochtitlan. Since the 19th c., the Mexica have usually been grouped with other Nahuatl-speakers in the Valley of Mexico under the name Aztecs, the name we also use, but they gave the name of their city, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, to the 16th c. capital of New Spain that grew up on top of it and subsequently to the new republic of Mexico in 1810. Inheritors of the rich and complex Mesoamerican past, the Aztecs shared many gods with the civilizations that had gone before, but they honored Huitzilopochtli, their own solar cult god, above all. In their ceremonial precinct, they built a dual pyramid, the Hueteocalli or Temp/o Mayor, and dedicated its southern shrine to Huitzilopochtli and the northern one to Tlaloc, a god that had come to symbolize antiquity and legitimacy as well as rain, earth, and fertility. After they defeated the neighboring Tepanecs in 1428, the Aztecs embarked on a campaign to exact both trade and tribute, first, from near neighbors, and later, from places as far Rung as Guatemala and the Veracruz coast. The pocAteca, or long-distance traders, were the key to both economic and military success, for their preliminary missions often led the way to Aztec imperialism. The Aztecs adopted new gods - Xipe Totee, for example, had nourished along the Gulf and in Oaxaca before gaining a major role among the Aztecs - and elevated old ones, while some others they humiliated by placing their idols in a dark temple designed to be their prison. After a brutal conquest, the Aztecs often insisted that a subject town take on Huitzilopochtli as its god, but he was usually an unwelcome addition, for his worship required regular human sacrifice. The Aztecs turned their swampy island into a city whose beauty and complexity dazzled the Spanish conquerors, who also marveled at the cuisine, the gardens, the exotic animals kept in a zoo, and the fastidiousness of the populace. Like Venice, Tenochtitlan was laid out along canals, and boatmen poled canoes instead of gondolas


25

INTRODUCTION

The ceremonia! precinct of the Aztec capita! city, Tenochtitian, depicted in a reconstruction painting by Ignacio Marquina. In front of the massive Temp!o Mayor one can discern the circular wind temp!e of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl and the platform supporting the fema/acaf/ dish of gladiatorial sacrifice.

along its axes. Aqueducts brought fresh water to the city from Chapultepec, a region of hiHy springs to the west, and causeways connected the island to the mainland. At Tlatelolco on the north side of the island, Cortés described a market teeming with goods and traders, with what he believed to be some 60,000 souls in attendance. The Aztec ruler Motecuhzoma II and his retinue lived in a grand palace to the west of the Mayor. Ordinary folk, or maceAna/As, lived in clan groupings called ca/pu/A, the essential administrative component of the city. Foreigners, including Mixtee craftsmen, lived in their own barrios. For years, the Aztecs had engaged in what they called xocAfyaoyot/ or "Bowery w a r/' In these contests, the Aztecs fought neighboring cities in order to garner sacriBcial victims but not to win outright victory. Young Aztec soldiers became seasoned Bghters, and the demanding Huitzilopochtli received his due, but the Aztecs earned a hatred more relentless from their enemies, particularly in Tlaxcala, than if they had subjected them to a clear-cut defeat and death on the battleBeld. When the Spanish invaded Mesoamerica, this sort of warfare baiHed them, for the Aztecs sought to capture their new Spanish foe?s for subsequent sacrifice. The Spanish cut a swath of destruction, slaughtering their Aztec enemies. And where the Aztecs might have anticipated that a negative outcome would lead to an unfavorable tribute arrangement, they could never have guessed that the Spanish would seek to bring their world to an absolute end. In 1519, Cortés received Doña Marina (often known as La Malinche, but Cortés is also called Malinche in some accounts), a young multilingual noblewoman, as a gift, after her skills as a translator had been demonstrated to him. She, along with


ÍNTHODUCTION

Jerónimo de Aguilar, a Spanish priest stranded for years among the Maya, could transíate for Cortés, so that he could begin to understand the world around him. No such informed interlocutors interpreted the Spanish world-view for the Aztecs, or for any of the peoples of Mesoamerica, although they quickly found out what the future had in store for them. Demographers have estimated that some 20 to 25 million people lived within the boundaries of what is now Mexico in 1519. The Spanish surveyed the population late in the 16th c. and found a scant million souls, the survivors of an invasion that wreaked death and destruction. In 1521, once Cortes and his men reigned triumphant in Tenochtitlan, the Spanish Crown and the Catholic church began to devise plans for both the administrative control and religious conversion of the vast entity soon known as New Spain. Disparate native groups found themselves lumped together under a new name, Indians, an awkward term with which we still labor. Native lords often served the new masters, keeping much administrative control in native hands in the early Colonial period. Artists went to work for the new regime, copying Aztec tribute lists, making maps of the conquered world, and, from time to time, copying or transcribing a religious document that managed to escape the torch. Some new hybrid types of books were devised that used native artists and ideas to warn missionaries of the idolatry they were fighting, while at the same time, some traditional forms of writing and record-keeping went on. Mixtee lords, for example, continued to keep detailed pictorial genealogies, and some of these manuscripts later served as evidence in civil suits over rights to land. Independence from Spain removed native peoples from protection that had been offered by the Spanish Crown and in some cases led to more brutal exploitation. In recent times, despite both oppression and the lure of urban life, many native peoples and cultures have survived, and some have thrived.

The Conceptual Framework of Mesoamerican Religion At the time of 8rst contact in the 16th c., Europeans were both intrigued and horriSed by Mesoamerican religion. Certain ritual practices, such as human sacrifice and cannibalism, suggested unholy pacts with the forces of Satan. Other aspects of native religion, such as baptism, penance, the use of incense, and the concept of a primordial Rood, were perhaps as disturbing, since they offered resonant parallels with Christian ritual and belief. The early Spanish chroniclers noted the striking similarity of the Aztec word for god, feo or feof/, with the Spanish dfos. Nonetheless, although it is possible to find correspondences between Mesoamerican religion and those of the Old World, these similarities are the result of independent development rather than diffusion. Aside from the distant origins of New World peoples from Asia, there is no evidence of any European, Asian, or African influence upon Prehispanic peoples of Mesoamerica. The wonderful sophistication and complexity of Mesoamerican religion derives from millennia of gradual independent development. Early Beliefs and Rituals Virtually nothing is known of the religious concepts of the earliest Paleoindian inhabitants of Mesoamerica. Certain later Mesoamerican beliefs, such as a multi­ layered heaven and earth, shamanic transformation, the moon as a rabbit, and the


INTRODUCTION

27

A possible Archaic period baHcourt at Cheo-Shih in Oaxaca, 5th millennium

BC.

importance of world directions and trees, suggest a distant and ancient relation to Asia. Nonetheless, however profound or early these links may be, they are not reflected in the scant archaeological remains of the earliest peoples. It is not until the Archaic period (7000-2000 B e ) , in the arid highlands of southern Mexico, that concrete evidence of complex religious activity appears. Excavations in the Tehuacan Valley of Puebla have uncovered two groups of human burials dating to approximately the 6th millennium B e . Wrapped in blankets and nets, the bodies were also accompanied by baskets. Some of these individuals were burned and partly dismembered, perhaps as an early form of ceremonial cannibalism. Although the actual significance of this ritual mutilation remains to be established, these Tehuacan burials clearly demonstrate an early concern and belief in the afterlife. The site of Gheo Shih, situated in the Tlacolula Valley of highland Oaxaca, reveals other tantalizing evidence of ceremonialism during the Archaic period. Gheo Shih roughly dates to 5000-4000 B e , and seems to have been a seasonal site where bands of people would gather together to collect certain wild plant foods. Archaeologists uncovered an ancient surface Hanked by lines of stones on the two longer sides. Some 65 feet (20 meters) long and 23 feet (7 meters) wide, the Hoor area seemed to have been swept and was virtually devoid of debris. Although the lines of stones may have delineated a dance Hoor, it is also possible that they marked the sides of an early, simple ballcourt alley. The ancient Oaxacans may have imported rubber balls for the ballgame, but it is far more likely that they were fashioned of locally avaHable leather, wood or stone. Ritualized competitive games may have been an important form of social interaction during seasonal gatherings in the Archaic period.


INTRODUCTION

ZB

The Earty Formative period saw major changes that were important for the !ater development of Mesoamerica: the introduction of farming, the growth of populations thanks to settled village life, and the production of pottery. With the appearance of sedentary villages containing relatively large populations, greater evidence of complex religious activities and beliefs survives. During the mid 2nd millennium B e , Formative villages appear widely in the southern coastal region of Chiapas, Mexico. Known as Ocos, this Early Formative culture already displays a number of important elements observed in later Mesoamerican religious systems. In certain Ocos burials, mourners placed mica mirrors with the dead: obsidian;- pyrite, and other stone mirrors continued to be revered objects of ornament and ritual until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th c. With the appearance of pottery, ceramic figurines become common at Ocos and other Formative sites. The function of these Formative figurines is unknown; many examples portray youthful, full-bodied women, as if they reflect a concern with human or agricultural fertility. Often beautifully worked, Ocos figurines frequently represent curious blendings of human and zoomorphic traits that have no obvious counterparts in the natural world. At times, these strange figures are seated upon thrones. According to archaeologist John Clark, these throne figures may portray shamanic chiefs wearing animal masks of their spirit companions. The Olmecs and the Natural World In contrast to Ocos, the Olmecs after 1200 BC constructed huge earthworks and carved magnificent stone sculptures. Massive thrones, stelae, and colossal heads all testify to both the virtuosity of Olmec artisans and the power of the early rulers who commissioned such works. Monuments from San Lorenzo, La Venta, and other Olmec sites frequently portray actual Olmec kings, and thus clearly these sculptures are at least partly historical in nature. However, the power of these early kings was by no means simply secular; instead, they carefully portrayed themselves in relation to gods and other supernatural forces. Moreover, there are strong indications that the Olmecs had complex concepts regarding shamanic transformation. As among later Mesoamerican peoples, particularly powerful individuals were believed to be able to transform themselves into jaguars. Among the Olmecs and later peoples of Mesoamerica, certain places were considered especially sacred. Quite often, these locations corresponded to critical junctions between the planes of sky, earth, and Underworld. The Olmecs regarded caves, or entrances to the netherworld, as powerful and magical places. Similarly, at the junction of sky and earth, mountains were also considered to be particularly sacred places, and it is probable that like later Mesoamerican peoples the Olmecs considered pyramids to be replications of mountains. Mountains that contained springs or caves were particularly revered, since they offered simultaneous access to all three planes: sky, earth, and Underworld. Certain Olmec mountain sites, such as El ManatĂ­, Chalcatzingo, and Oxtotitlan, may have served as important oracles, a means of communicating with the powers of the heavens, earth and Underworld. Like their successors, the Olmecs exhibited a fascination with creatures and forces of the natural world. In their early art one can discern representations of jaguars, harpy eagles, sharks, caimans, and other denizens of their lowland environment. But there are also strange mergings of animal species, as if the Olmecs were attempting to amalgamate the sky, earth, and sea into a dynamic and coherent whole. Although little is known of the Olmec pantheon, it appears that like later peoples they had gods of particular phenomena, such as rain, the earth, and maize.


29

INTRODUCTION

A Middle Formative Olmec representation o fa figure seated inside acave. From Chalcatzingo, Morelos.

In the better known religious systems of Classic and Postclassic Mesoamerica, allusions to such gods abound. Even to this day in rural Mexico and Guatemala, rituals are performed to gods of earth, wind, water, lightning and other natural forces. From Formative times to the present, agriculture has been a major focus of Mesoamerican religion. Many of the forces of nature worshipped and evoked in Mesoamerican mythology and ritual concern farming and maize, the primary agricultural product. So ingrained is the importance of corn that in a number of regions maize is explicitly or implicitly said to be the substance of human Hesh. References to maize are widespread in the iconography of the Formative Olmecs. Moreover, the importance of forces of water and earth in Olmec and later Mesoamerican religions is clearly related to agricultural fertility. It is thus not surprising that some of the oldest continuously worshipped gods, such as Tlaloc, Cocijo, and Chac, are deities of lightning and rain. Despite centuries of European domination, many of these rain and fertility gods survive to this day. Although certain aspects of ancient Mesoamerican religion may appear bizarre to the modern viewer, a great deal of native ritual and belief is based on preeminently practical concerns. Much of the ceremonialism is focused not on the afterlife, but on this world and such matters as health, fertility, prosperity, and the prediction and averting of natural disasters. A central concern - today as in antiquity - is that


INTRODUCTION

30

of balance and harmony. This may be expressed in terms of the individua!, the community, or the surrounding wor!d. Imbalance and discord can !ead to sickness, death, socia! discord, famine, and even world destruction. In ancient Mesoamerica, there were even gods who personiSed excess. In Postclassic Central Mexico, the Ahuiateteo simultaneously portrayed particular vices and their consequent punishment. Through particular forms of religious observance, the peoples of Mesoamerica have sought to ensure harmony both with themselves and with the greater cosmos. Sacrifice and Replication Among the best-known religious practices of ancient Mesoamerica is human sacrifice. Lurid images of sacrificed maidens and virile warriors have fascinated European imaginations since the Spanish Conquest. But for Mesoamericans human sacrifice was a fundamental means to maintain world harmony and balance. According to the Quiche Maya Popo/ VuA, the gods fashioned the present human race, the people of maize, to supply nourishment in the form of prayer and sacrifice. The offering of nourishing human substance could be in the form of penitential bloodletting, or more dramaticalty, the sacrifice of individuals. In both cases, the act signified the offering of the self, either by individual voluntary bloodletting, or collectively with a human victim. The concept of retribution was closely tied to the act of sacrifice. In exchange for life, humans needed to acknowledge and even reimburse the forces that made life possible. The Aztecs viewed human sacrifice partly as retribution for cosmic theft. According to Aztec belief, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl stole the bones out of which people were created from the Underworld death god. Similarly, in the Popo/ VuA, the pregnant Xquic escapes from the Underworld to give birth to the Hero Twins on the surface of the earth. In ancient Mesoamerican thought, humans survive on not merely borrowed but stolen time. One of the underlying organizational principles of Mesoamerican religion is replication, in which essential patterns of everyday life and the surrounding world are copied and incorporated as models of religious thought and action. Basic features of the social world are often repeated on an increasingly larger scale to encompass the world and the workings of the universe. For example, in the Maya region, the house with its four walls and corner posts could stand for a maize Beld, the community, and the structure of the cosmos. Grand and abstract concepts are placed in human terms, and conversely, the ordered structure of the universe serves to sanctify and validate human social conventions. Quite frequently, such series of structural associations are expressed in ritual, with similar rites being performed for the individual, the community, or the cosmos. Thus personal penitential bloodletting could be repeated on a larger and more elaborate public scale in the form of human sacrifice. The Aztec New Fire ceremony provides another example. In Aztec rites of personal purification, straws or sticks used in bloodletting were bound in bundles with a paper strip. The large bound stick bundles in the great New Fire ceremony held once every 52 years were probably but gloriBed versions of the small bundles used in personal bloodletting. Like the penitential bloodletting event, the rite was also for purification, but in terms of the world rather than simply the individual. Just as basic features can be replicated from the small to the large, the reverse is also true. Objects or concepts of cosmic distance or size are copied into a human scale. The sacred centers of Mesoamerican sites often copy cosmic geography. The Aztec 7emp/o Mayor dual pyramid, situated in the center of Tenochtitlan,


INTRODUCTION

31 OMEYOCAN

. . 1 3 HEAVENS in the CELEST1ALLEVEL

The Aztecs oriented TenochĂźtlan's Templo Mayor to the four quarters, and conceived of it as the central point between the 13 levels of heaven and the 9 steps to the Underworld (Mictlan).

--

9 STEPS to the UNDERWORLD LEVEL

M IC T L A N

represented two sacred mountains, Coatepec and TonacatepetL Recent epigraphic research by David Stuart has revealed that the Classic Maya conceived of the monumental art and architecture of their sites as a living landscape of sacred mountains and trees. Religious Metaphors in Art and Writing In Mesoamerica, metaphor is an essential means of describing abstract religious concepts. Thus, for example, Mesoamerican peoples often consider humans to be like maize or Sowers that are planted on the surface of the earth, born to die, but containing the seed of regeneration. Through metaphor, particular subjects are given a vivid range of associations and meanings. At times, the similarities shared between a subject and its metaphoric comparison reflect a real and special bond. Quite frequently, these relationships are expressed through ritual. The magical efRcacy of particular agricultural sacriBces, for example, depended on the fact that the victim not only reflected processes of nature but actually embodied them during the ritual act. However, the metaphoric substitutions should not be taken too literally or exclusively. And the metaphors may vary according to what qualities are being expressed. Thus among the ancient Maya, the earth was thought of in a variety of ways, as a rectangular house or maize Beld, as a great caiman, or as the rounded circular back of a great tortoise. Prehispanic Mesoamerican art richly expresses these ancient metaphors. Few regions of the ancient world used visual art so intensively to express complex religious concepts. Fully present by the Early Formative Olmec, complex systems


[MTRODUCTION

32

of Mesoamerican iconography antedate actĂşa! writing. Moreover, writing never reptaced iconography. In the Classic Maya area, the complexity of the hierog!yphic inscriptions is entirety matched by the attendant iconography, the texts and the pictoria! images conveying different qualities of information. Unlike the specificity of writing, the power of Mesoamerican iconography lies in its subtle ambiguity and ability simultaneously to express different levels of meaning. In a single scene, a richly costumed king can be regarded as a deity impersonator, an actual god, or both. In terms of metaphoric expression, the iconography comes alive. Lightning can appear as a burning serpent, blood as writhing snakes or gouts sprouting sweet dowers, and a mature maize ear as a human head awaiting decapitation from the stalk. There is considerable debate concerning the extent of literacy in ancient Mesoamerica. Although writing may have been widely used to record mundane daily transactions, it also had a strongly religious component. Priests, commonly culled from the elite, often performed as scribes in Postclassic Mesoamerica. Certain gods were divine patrons of writing. Among the Postclassic Maya, writing was identified with Kinich Ahau Itzamna, an aspect of the aged creator god, and scenes in Classic Maya art also suggest that Itzamna was a god of writing. When we see the detailed historical texts on Maya monuments, it should be borne in mind that we are observing not simply historical but sacred writing. The phrases recorded by this writing are not everyday talk but ritual speech, much like sacred narratives of contemporary Mesoamerica. The Mesoamerican Calendar and Astronomy Calendrics served as an essential means by which Mesoamericans organized and conceived of their world. Through wonderfully intricate calendrical cycles, they sought to foresee particular events that could have major influence upon their lives. Although these could include such relatively mundane occurrences as business ventures or curing, they could also concern famine, political instability, or world annihilation. The 260-day calendar had an especially important role in Mesoamerican religion. In Postclassic Central Mexico, patron gods reigned over specific day names and the 20 13-day divisions of the 260-day calendar. From at least Classic times, each of the 20 day names was associated with a particular direction, passing in a continual counterclockwise motion from one day to the next. Considering the central importance of the 260-day calendar, it is entirely fitting that the earliest known example of writing concerns a calendrical notation, found on a Zapotee monument dating to approximately 600 B e . By the Protoclassic period (100 B C - A D 300), abundant evidence of the 260-day calendar survives in many parts of Mesoamerica; together with the vague solar year of 365 days, the 260-day calendar serves as one of the essential defining traits of Mesoamerican culture. In ancient and contemporary Mesoamerica, time is essentially cyclical. Even the famous Maya Long Count, filled with allusions to historical events and the distant mythical events of gods, is cyclical in nature. The great Long Count Baktun cycle, in which the Classic Maya lived and in which we continue to dwell, began in 3114 B C and will soon end on 23 December A D 2012. In ancient Mesoamerica, temporal cycles ran in increasingly larger units. The Maya Long Count, for example, consists of units marking days, 20 days, 360 days, 20 x 360 days, and 400 x 360 days, and still larger units encompassing millions of years. Similarly, in Late Postclassic Central Mexico, there were the 365-day vague year, the 52-vague-year cycle, and a still


33

INTRODUCTION

greater cycle of 104 years. Of crucial importance in Mesoamerican ritual and thought are period endings, during which a unit of time is terminated and another begins. For the Postclassic Maya of Yucatรกn, the end of the 365-day year was a major concern, whereas for the Aztecs, it was the completion of the 52-year cycle. The completion of major Long Count cycles must have been of momentous significance to the Classic Maya. There have even been suggestions, albeit unlikely, that the completion of the tenth Baktun (10.0.0.0.0) of the Maya Long Count in AD 830 was a major reason for the Classic Maya collapse. The ending and renewal of calendrical periods were commonly expressed through concepts of world creation and destruction. In fact, the New Year rites of the Yucatec and the New Fire ceremony of the Aztecs concerned the reassertion of the ordered world from the forces of chaos and darkness. In both regions, it was believed that such period endings could mark the end of the present world. In Mesoamerican thought, creation, as well as calendrics, is also cyclical. The Maya Pqpo/ Vu/?, Aztec accounts, and contemporary mythology share common and explicit references to multiple creations and destructions. Just as the series of previous worlds were destroyed, it was believed that this world in which we live would also end. One of the basic concerns of Mesoamerican calendrics was the recording and prediction of astronomical events. The sun, moon, planets and constellations exerted powerful influences upon people and the world. Two astronomical events that were of supreme importance were solar eclipses and the Brst appearance of Venus as Morning Star. The ancient Maya, with the most developed form of astronomical notation known for Mesoamerica, had elaborate tables recording and predicting eclipses and the cycle of Venus. It was widely believed that the world could be destroyed by demons of darkness during solar eclipses. Moreover, the rays of the Morning Star at heliacal rising were considered to be particularly dangerous, and threatened speciBc people and things of the natural world. It is now knowrr that the Classic Maya frequently scheduled battles to coincide with the movements of Venus, especially the Brst rising of Venus as evening star. The apparent movements of the planets and constellations were considered to be the reenactments of cosmic mythical events. To the Aztecs, the movement of Ursa Major into the sea may have represented Tezcatlipoca losing his foot during the cosmic battle with the great earth monster. Recent investigations by Linda Scheie and David Freidel suggest that the Classic Maya also observed mythological events in the movement of the stars, probably based on an ancestral form of the PopoV VuA creation epic. Religion and Statecraft The religious worlds of all classes of society were closely integrated in ancient Mesoamerica. Agricultural fertility was a major concern of all, and through replication, ritual acts of commoner and elite were linked. Nonetheless, the sophistication and complexity of Mesoamerican writing, calendrics and astronomy all point to the existence of full-time specialists, even though the oiBce of priest has not yet been documented in Classic period writing or art. Priestly offices are well known for the Postclassic period. Classic-period kings and other individuals of high * ofBce were also religious experts, and the rituals and beliefs surrounding rulers were extremely complex. Ancestor worship was a major concern of elite dynasties in ancient Mesoamerica, and Classic Maya art is Riled with scenes of rulers and their kin offering blood and other sacrifices to the honored dead.


[IN T R O D U C T IO N

34

Many peoples of ancient Mesoamerica lived in highly stratiBed state-level societies. In such societies, mythology and ritual frequently served as divine charter for state poiicies. The use of ideology in statecraft is best documented for the Aztecs. It is known, for example, that the Aztec emperor Itzcoatl destroyed historical accounts in order to rewrite the legendary past of his people. A number of Aztec myths describe the necessity of political expansion and human sacriBce. The myth of the birth of Huitzilopochtli at Coatepec is also a description of the political ascendancy of the Aztecs and their defeat of other city states. Both this mythical event and the creation of the Bfth sun at Teotihuacan stress the importance of human sacriBce for world balance and survival. Following the fall of Tenochtitlan to the Spanish in 1521, Mesoamerican religion was rapidly transformed. Many of the more elaborate manifestations associated with the elite, such as hieroglyphic writing and iconography, virtually ceased to exist by the end of the 16th c. Native temples, sculptures, and books were systematically destroyed. The Spanish conquerors vigorously suppressed native religious ceremon­ ies, particularly those involving human sacriBce. The rituals, mythology, and gods

This scene from the Yanhuitian Codex depicts two Mixtee noMes standing behind a Dominican priest.


35

INTRODUCTION

pertaining to rulership and other high ofEces were likewise suppressed, not only because of their chaMenge to Christian doctrine but a!so because of their essentially political nature, which could serve as catalysts for rebellion. However, the eradication of native Mesoamerican customs was by no means total. Many of the more profound and lasting religious beliefs continue to the present day. Rich oral traditions encompassing ritual speech, songs, and mythology are contained in Nahuatl, Mayan, Mixtee, and other modern native languages. Forms of the 260-day and vague 365day calendar are still used in southeastern Mesoamerica. Ceremonies to ensure agricultural fertility are widely performed in Mesoamerica, and copa/ incense, Sowers, and prepared foods are among the offerings still presented to the gods and ancestors. Although this volume specifically concerns Preconquest Mesoamerican religion, it should be remembered that we are describing but the ancient origins and history of a still living and vibrant culture.


Subject Index

1.

C ods, goddesses

X ip e T o te e

T E O T IH U A C A N

and o th er

X iu hco atl

F a t C od

supernatura! beings

X iu h te c u h tli

H u e h u e te o tl

ancestral couple celestial b ird

X o c h ip illi X o ch iq u etzal

Jaguar gods Jagu ar-ser p e n t-b ird

death gods

X o lo tl

P u lqu e gods Q u e tza lc o a tl

MAYA A x T E C A N D P oS T C L A S S iC

B icephalic M o n s te r

C E N T R A L M E X IC O

C hac D iv in g God F a t C od

A h uiateteo C h alch iu h tlicu e C hicom ecoatl C ihuacoatl C ih u ateteo C in te o tl C oatlicue Coyolxauhqui E hecatl H uehuecoyot! H u eh u ete o tl H u itzilo p o ch tli H am atecuhtli Itzp a p a lo tl Itztla c o liu h q u i-Ix q u im illi Jaguar gods M acu ilxoch itl M a ize gods M a y ah u el M ic tla n te c u h tli M ixco atl O m eteo tl Pulque gods Q u etzalcoatl Scribal gods Sky Bearers Tezcatlipoca T lah u izcalp an tecu h tli T lalo c T la lte c u h tli T la zo lte o tl Toci Tonacatecuhtli T o n atiu h T zitzim im e

T eo tih u ac an gods T la lo c W a r S erpent ZAPOTEC

C ocijo

H u n H u nah p u Itza m n a P rin cip al B ird D e ity Ixchel Jaguar gods Jester C od K in ic h A h a u Long-nosed and L o n g-lipp ed deities M a ize gods M a n ik in scepter P ad d ler Cods P alenque T ria d Cods Pauahtun Q u etzalcoatl Schellhas gods Scribal gods Sky B earers T o h il Vision Serpent Vucub C aquix W a te r L ily S erpent M lX T E C

M ix te e gods X ip e Totee Yahui OLM EC

Jaguar gods M a iz e gods O lm ec gods Q u etzalcoatl W ere-jag u ars

H u e h u e te o tl Jaguar gods M a iz e gods P rin cip a l B ird D e ity X ip e T o tee 2.

F lo ra and fau n a

am aran th bats b u tte r Ay cacao caim an ceiba celestial b ird cotton d eer dog eagle Rowers hallucinogens hu m m in g b ird ja g u ar ja g u a r-s e rp e n t-b ird m aguey m aize m onkey m uan ow l owls parrots and m acaws peccary q uetzal ra b b it


SUBJECT INDEJt

37 serpent shark spiders toad tobacco tu rtle vu ltu re w a te r lily &

Sacred places

A ztian caves cenote Chicom oztoc C oatepec pyram id springs Tam oanchan tem ple Teotihuacan Tlalocan T o lla n U n d erw o rld 4. O bjects, symbols, and m aterials a lta r a tl-tla c h in o lli blood bundle canoe cerem onial bar chacmoo! cinnabar and h em atite cloth coatepantli codex colors colossal heads costum e crossroads cuauhxicalli d en tistry directions excrem ent fan Hint goM hacha hearts incense ^

ja d e je w e lry litters m at M exican year sign

nahual nam es and titles night num bers omens Popol Vuh S tirlin g hypothesis tonal trecena tw ins

m irrors m o rtu ary bundles obsidian palm a paper pulque re p tile eye ru b b er shell sky bands

uay U n d erw o rld vein ten a

sm iling Bgures sw eatbath tem alacatl throne

w orld trees w ritin g

tombs trophy heads tuerto

year bearers 7.

turquoise tzom pantli w eaponry yoke 5. N a tu ra l phenom ena daw n earth eclipse ligh tn in g and thunder M ilk y W ay moon m ountains night rain sea sky springs stars and planets sun Venus w a te r w ind 6.

Concepts and ideas

a fte rlife calendar creation death d efo rm ity deification disease d u ality excrem ent Hre F iv e Suns gods hearts m ilp a

R itu a lp ra c tic e s

and th e ir participants

:

accession autosacriiice ballgam e baptism b irth bloodletting cannibalism captives cargo C ihuacoatl clowns confession curing dance death d eity im personation d ivin atio n dw arves and hunchbacks enemas execution hum an sacriHce m arriage m erchants music p ato lli pilgrim age priests puriH cation sacrifice shamans term in atio n rituals tlato an i uay uayeb vein ten a w a rrio r orders


38

ACCESSION

in h ig h lan d G u a te m ala described a tim e deep in the past w hen th e ir rulers had gone to TOLLAN w h e re leg itim acy was con ferred upon them .

accession Accession is the E nglish w o rd gen­ e ra lly given to the process by w hich a ru le r was in stalled fo rm ally in ofBce. Accession ritu als am ong the M ixtees, A ztecs, and M a y a are know n to have been e lab o ra te events, fre q u e n tly lasting fo r days. P rob ab ly m ost M esoam erican cultures engaged in this p ro ­ cedure by w hich a m ere m o rtal becam e a le ad e r often perceived by the w o rld around him (and occasionally h e r) to be d iv in e. Am ong the A ztecs, the ru le r, know n as the TLATOAN! (lite ra lly "h e w ho speaks") acceded to p o w er over a series o f days, even w eeks, beginning w ith his selection a fte r the death o f the previous ru le r. R anking nobles chose from a poo! o f candidates, som etim es n u m b er­ ing in the hundreds, o f younger m en, the sons, nephew s, grandsons and great-grandsons o f fo rm er rulers. T h e candidate w ould then prove h im self in b a ttle and proudly lead CAPWES, livin g trophies o f his prowess, back to the A ztec cap ital. O fficial accession celebrations began w ith the ordering o f new robes fo r a ll nobles to be in attendance, and invitations w e re sent fa r and w id e, even including tra d itio n a l enem ies, w ho w ere to be im pressed (and perhaps cow ed) by the display o f A ztec pow er. O nce the cerem onies had begun, fou r or five days o f feasting and dancing culm inated in a royal procession to five sites w ith in the sacred precinct and environs o f T en o ch titlan , a t each o f w hich the candidate offered IN C E N S E , q u ail, and his ow n B L O O D . T o the Aztecs, the i/afo am transcended m ere m o rtality and was recog­ nized as d ivin e. W ith such status, the A ztec king M otecuhzom a I I , fo r exam ple, was n e ith e r touched nor gazed upon by his sub­ jects, and according to the accounts w ritte n by the Spanish a t the tim e o f the C onquest, the ¿/afean? rep elled efforts by C ortes to shake his hand or m eet his gaze. A key fe a tu re o f the M ix te e accession cerem ony was the ofRcial insertion o f a nose plug; the M ix te e lord 8 D e e r m ay have jo u rn eyed to a PILGRIMAGE site to receive the nose plug from a PRIEST. T h e notion o f trav el in o rd er to receive sanction fo r accession was com m on in ancien t M esoam erica. A t the tim e o f the Spanish Conquest, fo r exam ple, M a y a kings o f the Q uiché and C akchique! peoples

C lassic M a y a h iero g lyp h ic texts usually state sim ply the accession v erb , roughly, "to be seated as c/?'u/ a h a u ," th a t is, seated as the sacred lo rd , b u t th e range o f associated depictions offers clues to the various com ­ ponents o f accession ritu a ls , w h ich , lik e the A ztec ones, m ay have re q u ired th a t sacrificial victim s had p revio u sly been tak en , and w hich p ro b ab ly fo llo w e d a fa m ilia r sequence. M o n u ­ m ents com m em orating accession a t P iedras N egras, fo r exam ple, fe a tu re n e w ly seated lords on cushions w ith in niches, high above sacrificial victim s w ho rest a t th e base o f c lo th -d rap ed la ttic e d scaffolding, th e ir p ro b ­ able place o f SACRIFICE. B loody foo tp rin ts spot the clo th , m arkin g the steps o f the n ew ru le r from th e sacrifice site to the

THRONE.

Some

m onum ents in clu d e visitors, im p ly in g th a t lik e th e ir A ztec cou n terp arts - M a y a acces­ sion ritu als m ay have d ra w n the atten d ance o f n o b ility throughout the region. A ltho u g h succession am ong th e M a y a could fo llo w from one b ro th e r to a n o th er, p rim o g e n itu re was a g en eral ru le . In no M eso am erican c iv iliza tio n is th e re any evidence o f re tire m e n t or abd icatio n fro m ru lership. O nce a king acceded to ofRce, he a p p a ren tly served u n til D E A T H , and no successor acceded u n til p ro p er arrangem ents could be m ade, a process th a t g en e rally took an yw h ere from a fe w w eeks to a year. T h e te n -ye ar in terreg n u m (AD 7 4 2 -5 2 ) b etw e en the reigns o f M a y a kings Shield Jaguar and B ird Jaguar th e G re a t a t Y axchilan is anom a­ lous. acrobats In 16th c. M eso am erica, acrobats and contortionists form ed an im p o rta n t class o f ritu a l en te rta in ers. In his triu m p h a l re tu rn to Spain in 1528, H e rn á n C ortés included n ative acrobats in his entourage. In th a t year, C h risto p h er W e id itz illu s tra te d one o f these acrobats, ju g g lin g a beam o f w ood w ith his fe e t. S im ilar acrobats are know n fo r both the L a te Postclassic M ixtees as w e ll as Aztecs. C o n to rted acrobats also app ear in Classic M a y a a rt, fre q u e n tly w ith th e ir legs arching over th e ir heads. A t tim es they are supplied w ith snake m arkings, as if allu d in g to the alm ost m iraculous, sinuous contortions o f the SERPENT. T h is fascination w ith acrobatic con­ tortionists appears as e a rly as th e Olm ecs. A


39

AFTERLIFE

fine representation o f a contortionist grasping his feet appears on a la te O lm ec re lie f re p o rt­ edly from the south coast o f G u atem ala. a fte rlife M esoam erican beliefs o f a fte rlife varied w ith region and tim e , b u t fo r fe w people was th ere any sense th a t hum an m o rality affected the a fte rlife . F o r the Aztecs, the key to one s a fte rlife was the m anner o f DEATH itself; for the M a y a , one was tested a fte r death by the gods o f the U N D E R W O R L D . A lthough no texts survive from the F o rm a ­ tive era, rich offerings placed in TO M B S reveal b e lie f in an a fte rlife . A t L a V e n ta , JADE treasures accom panied deceased O lm ec nobles la id to rest in basalt sarcophagi. In W est M exico, ancien t residents o f the states o f Jalisco, N a y a rit, and C o lim a dug shaft tombs deep into the earth and offered b u rn ­ ished ceram ics. Both real and ceram ic D o c s fre q u e n tly accom panied the dead, suggesting th a t an a nim al com panion m ay have been necessary for a jo u rn e y in the a fte rlife . T h e M a y a conceived the a fte rlife to be a jo u rn e y, a harro w in g th a t one m ight success­ fu lly overcom e. B u rial rituals included the in te rm e n t o f useful goods for the deceased's jo u rn e y, and noble tombs h eld the richest offerings: pots o f a chocolate beverage, hum an attendants, even dogs, and freq u en tly g reat piles o f ja d e , C L O T H , and rope. B ut even a com m oner w ould be bu ried w ith a jad e bead in his m outh, a b it o f currency he m ight need in the a fte rlife . T h e best record o f the jo u rn ey its e lf is recorded in the 16th c. Q uiche epic, the PO PO L v u H , b u t the M a y a had prob­ ably believed in a sim ilar quest a fte r death for about tw o m illen n ia , if not longer. T h e e n try in to the M a y a U n derw o rld began w ith passage through still W A T E R , some­ tim es ren dered in Classic M a y a a rt as a passage by C A N O E . Subsequently, the a fte rlife jo u rn e y led through various levels o f the U n d e rw o rld (know n in Q uiche as X ib alb a , or place o f frig h t), m any o f w hich w ere hot and steam y sites o f decom position and decay and in h a b ite d by foul-sm elling gods o f d eath. A M a y a overcam e death by o u tw ittin g these old gods, as the H e ro T w in s do in the P opo/ VuA. O nce the re p e lle n t beings w ere d efe ated , the victors rose in the night SKY as heaven ly bodies. T h e M a y a liken ed the cycle o f death and reg en eratio n to the life cycle o f M A IZ E .

F o r the Aztecs, the w o rld o f the a fte rlife was s tra tified , w ith 13 layers o f heavens and

A noble figure is surrounded by a contorted acrobat, Shook Panel, Late Formative period, Guatemala.

This scene describes the afterlife journey of a sacrificial victim. At the upper right, he is first swallowed by the caiman earth. The center of the scene depicts the victim being greeted by Mictlantecuhtli in the dark interior of the earth Codex Borgia, p. 42, Late Postclassic period.


40

AHUIATETEO n in e o f the U n d e rw o rld . T h e m eans o f d ea th

according to specific M ix te e place nam es, ^ee

d ete rm in ed one s fa te a fte r d ea th , and m ost

a /m

D E F O R M IT Y .

o f those w ho w e n t to heaven d ied v io len t deaths. Suicides, fo r exam ple, d w e lt in a

alcohol see PULQUE

single stratu m . O n e la y e r o f th e heavens was reserved fo r sacrificial victim s, those w ho

a lta r T y p ic a lly , in M eso am erica an a lta r is a

d ied in com bat, and fo r w om en w ho d ied in

larg e stone, w ith a fla t surface suitable for

c h ild b irth (w ho w e re recognized as w a rrio rs

th e m aking, o ffe rin g , or b u rn in g o f SACRIFICES.

a n o th er

M a n y carved an cien t stones o f M exico and

heavenly la ye r, d ed icated to the RAIN and

G u a te m a la , h o w ever, w e re in cluded in this

EARTH god TLALOC, received those struck by

category long b efo re th e ir function had been

who fe ll to the

b a ttlin g in fa n t);

ucHTNiNC, or w ho d ro w n ed, or w ho fe ll p re y

d e te rm in e d . Some larg e so-called tab le -to p

to the DISEASES dispatched by the ra in gods.

alta rs o f th e O lm ecs w e re p ro b ab ly

B u t m ost A ztec souls, and a ll those w ho

A t m any M a y a cities, com m em orative stelae

died o rd in ary deaths, en te red M ic tla n , the

p a ir w ith a ltars in w h a t has o ften been term ed

THRONES.

U n d e rw o rld , w h e re they, lik e th e ir M a y a

the stelae " c u lt" : in fac t th e p ractice was not

counterparts, faced a series o f trials d u rin g

a c u lt b u t ra th e r a p a tte rn o f com m em orating

th e ir jo u rn e y.

ru le r p o rtraits on stelae and offerings (som e­

A h u iatcteo Am ong the Postclassic peoples o f C en tra! M exico , m any form s o f pleasure,

la te r M a y a , Toltecs, and A ztecs, CHACMOOLs fre q u e n tly fun ctio ned as receptacles fo r sacri­

w hen in excess, w ere considered to be causes o f DISEASE and m isfortune. A series o f five

w e re sim ply p la in stones.

tim es sacrificial victim s) on alta rs . A m ong the

gods, the A h u iateteo , em bodied the dangers and punishm ents o f excessive d rin kin g , gam b­ ling , sex, and o th er pleasures. Each o f these five gods bore a calendrical nam e w ith the coefficient o f 5, m acui/, a num ber allu d in g to excess. Thus according to the Aztecs, the fifth cup o f PULQUE denoted drunkenness and loss c f control. T h e five gods w e re nam ed M a c u ilcuetzpalin (5 L iza rd ), M acuilcozcacuauhtli (5 V u ltu re ), M a c u ilto c h tli (5 R a b b it), M A C U IL x o c m T L (5 F lo w e r) and M a c u ilm a lin a lli (5 Crass). These gods w ere clea rly associated w ith the DIRECTION south: th e ir five day nam es constitute the five days o f the south and d erive from the five southern TR EC ENA S o f 1 X ó ch itl, 1 M a lin a lli, 1 C u etzp alin , 1 Cozcacuau h tli and 1 T o ch tli. T h e Vaticanus B and Borgia codices contain passages representing the Eve A h u iateteo and th e ir accom panying trecena dates. A lthough the tw o passages d iffe r, in both cases the figures display characteristics o f T E Z C A T L iP O C A . M o reo v er, in both codices, the A h u iateteo can be rendered w ith a hum an hand across the m outh, clearly a reference to the five digits, and by extension, the num ber five. In the Borgia and Vaticanus B passages, the A h uiateteo p a ir w ith the five fem ale c iH U A T ETEO, the dem on goddesses o f the w est. T h e Prehispanic Fons M exicains 20 contains the m ost am bitious p airin g o f the C ih u ateteo w ith the A h u iateteo . In this single scene, the five A h u iateteo and C ih u ateteo are placed

fices. Some A zte c altars fo r

H U M A N S A C R IF IC E

am aran th A fa m ily o f plants rich in both p ro te in and starch, various am aranths (A m a ranf/m s spp.) w e re c u ltiv a te d in M eso am erica befo re the C onquest. T h e Aztecs called this p la n t fa m ily A u a l/i, and id e n tifie d some I I specific varie ties . L ik e m any o th e r foodstuffs, am aran th was tre a te d w ith reveren ce, b u t it was especially im p o rta n t fo r the seeds w e re m ixed w ith hum an B L O O D , fo rm in g a dough called tzoa/A, and then shaped in to figures and w orshipped. D u rin g th e m onth o f P anq u e tza liztli, such dough figures w e re set high atop the jrccoV//, a ritu a l tre e , and th e n subse­ q u en tly consum ed by p articip an ts in a ritu a l th a t the Spanish liken ed to C h ris tia n C om m union. A t the tim e o f the C onquest, th e A ztecs collected some 200,000 bushels o f am ara n th ann u ally in trib u te , only slig h tly less than th e y took in o f M A IZ E and beans. B u t because o f its close association w ith ritu a l, a m aran th consum ption was d riv e n underground by the Spanish, and the n u tritio u s foodstuff ceased to be a significant p a rt o f the n a tiv e d ie t. T o d ay a m ara n th is m ixed w ith a honey paste and sold as a snack called " a le g ria ," or jo y , on the s treet corners o f M exico. ancestral couple N a tiv e creation accounts fre q u e n tly re fe r to the m yth ical first hum an couple, w ho, because o f th e ir o rig in in rem ote a n tiq u ity , are often p o rtrayed to be o f g reat


41

ATL-TLACHINOLLI

age. As was the case w ith m any aged people o f ancient M esoam erica, this p a ir possessed powers o f D iviN A TiO N and CURING. Because o f the im portance o f the 260-day CALENDAR in d ivin atio n , the p rim o rd ial couple can also be id e n tifie d w ith the origin o f the calendar. A lthough know n as Oxomoco and C ipactonal am ong the N ahuatl-spealdng peoples o f C e n ­ tra l M exico , there is no c e rta in ty as to w hich o f the tw o figures these nam es re fe r to. T h e term C ipactonal is surely a referen ce to the day nam e C ip a c tli in the 260-day fona/poAuaVA calendar. In C e n tra l M exican thought, the day nam e C ip a c tli, m eaning " C A IM A N ," is freq u e n tly associated w ith beginnings and creation episodes. In th e ir id en tificatio n w ith the p o w erfu l, sacred arts o f curing and d iv in atio n , the aged ancestral couple m erges in to the o riginal p air o f m ale and fem ale creator gods. T h e Q uiche M a y a p o p o L v u H m entions a sim ilar p a ir of aged diviners w ho, although not described as the first hum ans, are re fe rre d to as grand­ parents. This aged p air, Xpiyacoc and his

Macuilcuetzpalin, one of the Uve Ahuiateteo gods, Codex Borgia, p. 47.

consort, X m ucane, play an active role in the creation o f people. By d ivin in g w ith cast tz/fe seeds, this couple instruct the creator gods how to fashion hum ankind. Xm ucane grinds the corn from w hich the first tru e people are m ade. 5ee a/so CREATION ACCOUNTS: D iviN A TiO N . a tl-tla c h in o lli A w idespread characteristic in ancient A ztec thought is the use o f p aired term s to re fe r m etap h orically to a single concept. O ne o f the best know n exam ples o f this is the N a h u a tl term at/-t%acAúio/A. Com posed o f the term s fo r WATER (a i/) and FIRE (t/acAAioAi), this phrase refers to w a r, and the words fo r fire and w a te r them selves are a p a ir o f b a ttlin g oppositions. In A ztec WRITING and a rt, this phrase is usually ren d ­ ered as a p a ir o f in te rtw in e d bands, one d elin ea tin g fire , the other, w a te r. T h e use o f Ere and w a te r to describe w a r also appears in m anuscripts o f non-A ztec origin, such as the Codex B orgia. T h e use o f w a te r and Ere to a llu d e to w a r m ay be as old as E a rly Classic TEOTiHUACAN. In T eo tih u acan a rt, symbols o f w a te r and Ere o ften app ear together in con­

The aged ancestral couple, Cipactonal and Oxomoco, portrayed as priests letting blood and casting lots, detail of Codex Borbonicus, p. 21, 16th c. Aztec.

texts o f w a r. D u rin g the Postclassic p eriod, the use o f w a te r and Ere to d elin ea te w a r appears to be especially strong am ong the ^ N ah u atl-speakin g peoples o f C e n tra l M exico . T h e E re -a n d -w a te r m o tif does not appear in the Prehispanic m anuscripts o f the Postclassic M ixtees or M a y a .

Fire and water, or atltlachinolli, the Aztec sign for war, detail of wooden drum from Malinalco.


42

AUTOSACRIFICE

seif, autosacriRce in the form o f BLOODLETTING

burned. In th e sm oke fro m the burned o ffe r­ ings, M a y a n o b ility com m unicated w ith th e ir

p layed a ro le in an cien t ritu a l fro m a t least

ancestors, as w as recorded a t Y axchilán.

autosacriRce L ite ra lly the sacriBcing o f one-

O lm ec tim es u n til the Spanish C onquest. T h e

A lth o u g h no e x p lic it depictions o f O lm ec

very act o f such self-sacriRce was recorded

autosacriRce su rvive, sharp JADE perfo rato rs

w id e ly in M eso am erican a rt, and q u an tities

and stingray spines in d ic ate such a practice

o f ritu a l p a ra p h e rn a lia survive th a t w e re

a t an e a rly d a te , as do terraco tta sculptures

designed specifically fo r sacrifice on the p a rt

fro m W e s t M exico th a t v iv id ly d ep ict cheek

o f the n o b ility . A ccording to A ztec accounts, the gods

p e rfo ra tio n .

g ath ered a t TAMOANCHAN fo llo w in g previous

a x is m u n d i

destructions o f the

EARTH.

T h e y d re w

s e é . W O R L D TR E E

BLO O D

from th e ir ow n bodies to g en erate a n ew

A ztla n "P la ce o f w h iteness" or "p lac e o f

race o f hum ans;

h eron s," A ztla n w as the m yth ical p o in t o f

QUETZALCO ATL,

in p a rtic u la r,

sprinkled blood from his penis on an cien t

d e p a rtu re fo r th e M e x ic a (A ztecs). T h e m y th ­

bones he stole from the

ical A ztla n w as an island in a lake whose

U NDERW ORLD.

Then, the

rep lica th e M e x ic a sought in T e n o c h titla n ,

god N an a h u a tzin im m olated h im self on a

th e ir Rna! hom e in C e n tra l M ex ico , also an

bonRre to c reate the SUN, and T ecu ciztecatl

island in a lake. Scholars have a tte m p te d to

follow ed suit, becom ing the M O O N . T h e story o f such d iv in e sacriRce survives only from

Southw est to points ju s t n o rth o f the V a lle y

in an act o f autosacriRce a t

T E O T iH U A C A N ,

id e n tify A ztla n a n y w h e re from the A m erican

th e A ztec trad itio n , but probably a ll ancien t

o f M ex ico , b u t such efforts have been in vain .

M esoam erican peoples w ere held in the th ra ll o f this ' blood d e b t/' in w hich hum ans end ­ lessly ow ed gods hum an blood and Resh. In the M a y a epic, the POPOL vun, the gods destroy successive generations o f livin g beings u n til a race o f hum ans learns to praise th e ir m akers and nourish them through p rayer and

A ltho u g h A ztla n m ay have been a m yth ic

blood S A C R IF IC E . A ztec lords d re w blood from th e ir ears, elbow s, and shins w ith sharp M A C U E Y spines or Rled bones. A tw isted grass b all held the spines w hen not in use, and the em blem o f the b all and spines was carved on dozens o f m ajor A ztec sculptures to signify th e responsi­ b ilities o f A ztec n o b ility. O f a ll M esoam erican d eities, Q u etzalcoatl most em bodied the burden o f sacriRce. O n a H uastec re lie f, Q uetzalcoatl pierces his tongue w ith a huge p erfo ra to r, and STARS and other precious elem ents stream from the w ound, as if given b irth from his offering. Both M a y a m en and w om en p erfo rm ed b loodletting as autosacriRce. M e n character­ istically d re w blood from the penis. T h e act is g raphically recorded on a num ber o f Classic M a y a pain ted pots, b u t even in the years a fte r the Spanish Conquest, Bishop D iego de L an d a saw such autosacriRce p erform ed in Y ucatan, and a M a d rid Codex illu stratio n shows several gods linked together by a rope th a t runs through a ll th e ir penises. W om en d re w blood fro m the tongue or ear, as m en also did upon occasion, and both collected the blood offerings on PAPER, w hich was then

location, fu rth e r in q u iry in to islands in L a k e Patzcuaro and M excal titá n in a lagoon along the PaciRc coast o f N a y a rit m ay p ro ve useful. A ccording to A ztec trad itio n s, th e ir ancestors d ep a rted A ztla n and w e n t to C H IC O M O Z T O C , the "seven caves," a t th e b eg inning o f th e ir long p ereg rin a tio n . T h e w ord A ztec m eans "p e o p le o f A z tla n ," although they ra re ly c alled them selves by such a term . T h e y w e re u sually know n am ong them selves and th e ir neighbors as th e M ex ica , or som etim es the C u lh u a -M e x ic a , to em phas­ ize th e ir connection to the old T o lte c lineages established a t C ulh u acan . H o w e v e r, W illia m Prescott's C onquest o í M exico , published in 1843, p o p ularized th e te rm A ztec (in tro d u ced by A lexan d er von H u m b o ld t e a rlie r in th e 19th c.) as a catch -all re feren ce to a ll N a h u a tlspeakers in C e n tra l M exico a t the tim e o f the C onquest.

ballgam e A ll over Prehispanic M exico and C e n tra l A m erica, fo r some th ree m illen n ia , gam es w e re played w ith a RUBBER b a ll, and in parts o f no rth w estern M exico an indigenous ballgam e is s till p layed . B allgam es m ay have developed along th e G u lf C oast, w h ere the re s ilie n t p roperties o f la te x w e re probably Rrst observed. T y p ic a lly , the best-know n


43

BALLGAME

games w e re played in a "baH co u rt," usually an alley form ed by tw o p a ra lle l structures, som etimes w ith c lea rly defined end zones that gave the e n tire a rea the shape o f a capital le tte r 1. Points w e re scored by strikin g a solid ru b b er b all, aim ing it tow ard a ring or m arkers set along the alle y or in end zones. T h e rules v aried , b u t the gam e was played betw een tw o team s composed o f tw o or th ree team m em bers each, giving a total o f fou r or six players. In the most w idespread version of the gam e, the b allp layers controlled the ball by h ittin g it w ith the upper arm and thigh; touching it w ith the hands was fo rb id ­ den, except to p u t the b all into play. A n oth er ballgam e was played w ith in stru ­ m ents resem bling field hockey sticks and a sm all b a ll. In th a t gam e, found m ainly in C e n tra l M exico and depicted in paintings at TBOTtHUACAN, goals and courts w e re defined by freestanding m arkers o f round disks atop posts.

The departure from Aztlan in the year 1 Flint, detail of Codex Boturini, 16th c. Aztec.

Such sport w as reserved for m en and gods. O nly at th e M aya site o f Yaxchilán are w om en d ep icted in association w ith the gam e; there, they sit b esid e a staircase on w h ich a ball bou nces. In the C odex Borbonicus, in the TRECENA 1 E agle, the A ztec godd ess xocHiQUETZAL presides over gam es in general, including the b allgam e and PATOLLi. T h e ballgam e had m any levels o f m eaning, and could be played fo r m any reasons, from sandlot sport to court ritu a l. A t the tim e of the Spanish C onquest, am ateurs and pro­ fessionals alike engaged in the gam e, and heavy gam bling fre q u e n tly accom panied the com petition. Spectators w agered th e ir finely w oven m antles, leaving a tra il o f garm ents behind them w hen they lost. M a n y M esoam erican peoples saw in the ballgam e a m etaphor fo r the m ovem ents o f heaven ly bodies, p a rtic u la rly the S U N , M O O N , and V E N u s ; the b a ll its e lf m ay have been understood as the sun jo u rn eyin g in and out o f the U N D E R W O R L D , seen as the n arro w alley o f the b allco u rt. Round baHcourt m arkers in alleys o f M a y a courts fre q u e n tly bear a q u a tre fo il cartouche, in d icatin g an opening to the U n d e rw o rld . In the P O P O L V U H , the H ero T w in s descend to the U n d e rw o rld to p lay b all against U n d e rw o rld gods; the gam e becomes the m etaphor o f life , D E A T H , and reg en eratio n , and they resurrect th e ir fa th e r, the

M A IZ E C O D ,

from the court o f d eath. T h e ballgam e also served as p u b lic reen act­ m ent o f w a rfa re and in corporated

HUMAN

The ballgame: (above) ballplayers, sketch by Karl Weiditz, 1528; (be/ow) Aztec ballcourt, Codex Magliabechiano.


44

BAPTISM SACRIFICE. In som e instances, victorious b a ll­

d ren o f a p p ro x im a te ly th ree years o f age w ith

players

WATER from a s e rp e n t-ta ile d asp ergillu m . In

d ec ap itated

skullracks

fo r

ballcourts

(see

the

th e

d e fe a te d

trophies

o fte n

ones; adjo in

a d d itio n , one o f the p rin c ip a l citizens o f the

the

com m unity a no inted the ch ild ren w ith w a te r

C lassic M a y a , a ritu a l p a ra lle le d th e b allg am e

fro m a m oistened bone. L an d a notes th a t this

T Z O M P A N T L i).

A m ong

in w hich d efe ated p layers, usually CAPTIVES o f

rite cleansed and puriB ed th e c h ild ren , an

w a r, w e re bound and trussed in o rd er to be

im p o rta n t fu n ctio n o f baptism .

used as the b a ll its e lf. In this Bnal act o f the

Book 6 o f th e F lo re n tin e C odex provides

gam e, the cap tive-as-b al! w as bounced dow n

d e ta ile d

a Bight o f stairs. T h e e q u ip m en t fo r the b allg am e v a rie d

and rites associated w ith A zte c baptism . In

descriptions o f th e

ritu a l speech

contrast to th e Y u catec cerem ony, baptism

through tim e and space, b u t g en e rally con­

took place soon a fte r

sisted o f a ru b b e r b a ll and, fo r the p layers,

A zte c rite w as also associated w ith PURiFi

B IR T H .

H o w e v e r, the

to rem ove any p o llu tio n acq u ired from

heavy padding. Solid ru b b er balls a re heavy

C A T IO N ,

and dense: m o d em -d ay ballgam es in n o rth ­

the parents. D u rin g th e ritu a l b ath in g , the

ern M exico use balls th a t are 10cm or 4

in fa n t w as nam ed and p resented w ith the

inches in d ia m e te r and w eig h 5 0 0 g o r li b . Some very larg e balls are d ep icted in M a y a

tools necessary fo r a d u lt life . T h is cru cial episode o f A zte c b irth rites is

and W est M exico a rt; a solid b all 3 0c m or 12 inches in d ia m eter w ould w eigh 3 .5 kg or

w h e re th e m id w ife p repares to b ath e the

7.5 lb and could have m aim ed or k ille d an

in fa n t in a vessel o f w a te r placed on a reed

illu s tra te d in the 16th c. C odex M en d o za,

Im m e d ia te ly above and b elo w th e m at

o lf-b alance p layer. A t C hichen Itz á , carvings

M AT.

o f the ballgam e show a skull on the surface

ap p ear th e articles rep resen tin g the occu­

o f the large b a ll, and skulls - perhaps o f previously d efeated ballplayers - m ay have been im bedded in such balls to create a ho llo w center. Vast q u an tities o f ballgam e p arap h ern a lia survive, m ostly from the C u lf Coast o f M exico and the PaciBc Coast o f G u atem ala. C arved from hard stone, the YOKES, handstones, H A C H A S , and PA LM A S (both o f w hich a re know n by th e ir m odern Spanish appellations) m ay have been m ade as com m em orative trophies for successful players or fo r occasional cere­ m onial w e ar. Stone yokes, for exam ple, can be w orn snugly across an adu lt's hips, bu t w eigh about 13.5 kg or 30 lb . F o r actual pro­ tection in the gam e, the equ ipm en t m ay have been m ade o f w ood, w icker, or cotton b attin g . N achas and pa/m as Bt into yokes and offer some protection fo r the chest; handstones m ay have been used to p u t the b all in to play or to a llo w for use o f the hands in com petition. N achas m ay also have adorned the court or m arked locations fo r scoring. Stone ballgam e trophies w ere p rized fu n e ra ry offerings and m ay have been req u ired by the in te rre d in order to face the U n d erw o rld gods.

pations o f m en and w om en. A b ove, one can discern the m asculine tools o f th e sculptor,

baptism W h en the Brst Spanish priests arriv ed in N e w Spain, they w e re surprised to Bnd n ative form s o f baptism , in this case the ritu a l bathing o f infants and child ren . In Yucatán, according to D iego de L an d a, a n ative PRIEST sprinkled m ale and fem ale c h il­

fe a th e rw o rk e r, p a in te r, and goldsm ith, along w ith the a ll-im p o rta n t fe a th e r and shield o f the w a rrio r. C le a rly , the lo t o f the fe m a le child is less e n v ia b le , as she is supplied only w ith the d re a ry tools fo r sw eeping and spinning cotton. bats As a n octurnal c re a tu re , th e b a t is com ­ m only id en tiB ed w ith th e forces o f d ea th and darkness in M eso am erican thought. T h e beh avior o f the vam p ire b a t also c o n trib u ted to the association o f bats w ith D E A T H and bloody S A C R IF IC E , and th e M a y a m ay w e ll have been a w are th a t the v a m p ire b a t does not suck the B L O O D o f its victim s b u t m akes an incision and then laps the blood. H o w e v e r, the n a tu ra l tra it o f bats snatching fru it fro m trees m ay have c o n trib u ted to the w idespread identiB cation o f bats w ith d ecap itation . A m ong th e Classic and Postclassic M a y a , bats w e re id en tiB ed w ith death and sacriBce. In th e Q uiché P O P O L V U H , the U n d e rw o rld C am a zotz, or "d e a th b a t," cuts o ff th e head o f the H e ro T w in , H u n ah p u . In Classic M a y a vessel scenes, bats a re com m only re n d e re d w ith d eath m arkings, such as extruded eyeballs and crossed bones. In Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , bats w e re s im ila rly associated w ith d eath and sacriBce. In a num ber o f scenes, the b a t carries a severed hum an head to id e n tify it as a beast


45

BIRTH

of decapitation. In a d d itio n , FLINT blades probably denoting sacriAce - can app ear on the snout or w ings o f the creatu re. T h e bat plays a p ro m in e n t ro le in the art o f the Classic Zapotees, and com m only appears on ceram ic fu n e ra ry urns. L ik e the la te r exam ples o f Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , the Zapotee b at is often dep icted w ith chipped stone blades, p robably an allusion to sacrifice. Supplied w ith large claw s, round ears, and a toothy m uzzle, the Zapotee b at figure resem bles the JAGUAR save for one curious convention: a large crest projecting from the top o f the forehead. A fine JADE mosaic exam ple o f a b at head was discovered d uring excavations a t the Zapotee site o f M o n te A lban. D a tin g to approxim ately the beginning o f the C h ristian era, this Agure displays the forehead crest as w e ll as the rounded ears

The baptism of Aztec infants, tools for males above and females below the central bowl of water; detail from Codex Mendoza.

and fanged snout. T h e three p endant CELTlik e stones id e n tify this rem arkab le mask as a pectoral or b e lt piece. In ancient M esoam erica, such masks seem to have been m odeled on TROPHY HEADS, again suggesting the associ­ atio n w ith d ecapitation.

Jade mosaic bat image, Protoclassic Zapotee, Monte Alban. This object was probably worn as a pectoral.

B icephalic M o n ster L ite ra lly , a tw o-headed m onster, o f w hich there are a num ber in M a y a a rt, and specifically, the tw o-headed m onster also know n as the C eles tia l M on ster or Cosm ic M on ster. T h is p a rtic u la r supernatural creatu re usu­ a lly has e ith e r a crocodilian or SKY BAND body, b u t in a t least one exam ple, cloud scrolls form the body. T h e fro n t head g en erally bears e ith e r a VENUS sign o r crossed bands in the eye, DEER hooves or d eer ears and is fu lly Aeshed w h ile the re a r head is characterist­ ically skeletal and ren dered upside dow n. T h e fro n t head also functions as the head v a ria n t fo r the day sign L a m a t and as the patro n o f the m onth Yax. T h e re ar head bears on its forehead a q u a d rip a rtite sign: a stingray spine, spondylus shell, and crossed bands inside a cache vessel. B oth heads m ay spew BLOOD scrolls. T h e CELESTIAL BIRD m ay be re p ­

Bicephalic Monster, Copán Altar 41, Late Classic Maya.

resented a t the cen ter o f the m onster's body. M o st com m only, the B icephalic M on ster fram es scenes o f ACCESSION or ru lersh ip fo r the M a y a , b u t its in trin sic m eaning m ay be to represent the arc o f the heavens, the fro n t head being identiA ed w ith Venus, p u lling behind it the Aeshless head o f the

SUN

in the

UNDERWORLD.

b irth T h e creation o f life by hum an b irth

Birth of Tezcatlipoca from the navel of Tlaltecuhtli, the earth deity, Aztec, Late Postclassic period.


B LO O D was a source o f g re at fascination in an cien t

stream s -

M eso am erica. N o t only was b irth an im p o rta n t eve n t o f g re a t concern in e ve ryd ay

fresh w ounds - a re o fte n configured as live SERPENTS. T h e C lassic M a y a fre q u e n tly show

p a rtic u la rly w hen spurting from

life , b u t it also p layed a m a jo r ro le in the

blood as a series o f d ro p lets, p a rtic u la rly in

CREATION ACCOUNTS o f th e gods. I t was com m on

scenes o f scatterin g or sprin klin g, in w hich

fo r an in fa n t a t the tim e o f b irth to be ritu a lly

kings hold th e ir hands near the groin and

in tro d uced in to some o f the m ost essential

show er the ground w ith th e ir blood. B lood­

tru th s o f hum an existence, such as th e origins,

stream s can be re n d e re d as stream s o f Rowing

n atu re , and fa te o f m ankind. T h e m ysteries o f gestation and b irth w e re

precious things or th e ir sym bols edged w ith

the dom ain o f a p a rtic u la r class o f curers, the

series o f la zy S-scrolls, although such im ag ery

m id w ives, w ho tended

m ore com m only re fers to clouds.

to be aged, post­

beads or dots. Blood m ay also ap p ear as a

m enopausal w om en w ell-ve rs ed in plants, D iv iN A T iO N ,

and o th e r esoteric lo re . T h e m ost

b lo o d le ttin g T h e act o f d ra w in g

BLO O D

from

Yucatec M a y a ixcHEL, was honored a t a m ajo r

th e hum an body w as p racticed ro u tin e ly throu g h o u t M eso am erica fo r ritu a l purposes.

piLCRiMAGE shrine on the island o f C o zum el,

Because th e

situated o ff the no rth ern coast o f Q u in ta n a

to crea te h u m a n ity , hum an blood was the

fam ous sup ern atu ral p atro n o f m id w ives, the

G O DS

had shed th e ir ow n blood

Roo, M exico . A lthough Ixchel is o ften id e n t­

single m ost im p o rta n t o ffe rin g th a t could be

ifie d as the you th fu l Goddess I o f the M a y a

m ade in re tu rn . In this state o f blood " d e b t,"

codices, she is alm ost c e rta in ly

the aged

Goddess O , w ho is nam ed ep ig rap h ically cAac c h e /in the ancient M a y a books (seescHELLHAS coos). In the a rt o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ­ ico, goddesses are freq u e n tly shown in the posture o f b irth know n as h e e le r, from the G erm an w ord signifying a squatting position, hfocher figures typ ically have th e ir arm s upraised, as if m irro rin g the crouching squat o f the lo w er lim bs. B ut although these figures squat in the b irth posture, ra re ly do they give b irth from the loins. In stead , in a num ber o f instances, individuals em erge from a JADE placed on the navel, representing the cen ter o f conception and gestation. blood M o st M esoam erican peoples id e n tifie d blood w ith o th er substances, p a rtic u la rly M A IZ E , JA D E , FLO W E R S , and the sap o f trees. A ccording to some M a y a accounts, the gods offered th e ir ow n blood on ground m aize, yieldin g a doughy paste fro m w hich hum ans could be form ed. N a tiv e m aize was red , blue, and y ello w in color; likew ise hum an blood appears blue in the veins w hen seen through the yellow ish tones o f skin, b u t w hen cut is red (see COLORS). Blood was understood in M esoam erica to m ean kinship, or bloodlines, as w e ll as the actual substance th a t courses through veins and arteries. In M ix te e and A ztec m anuscripts, hum an blood is som etim es ren dered as a jagged red stream tipped w ith ja d e beads; in the a rt o f Classic V eracru z and C hichen Itz á , blood­

CAPTIVES o f b a ttle w e re taken a liv e , th e ir blood shed la te r in

TEM PLES

and shrines to honor the

pact w ith th e gods. T h e nobles, and perhaps a ll people, p erfo rm e d

A U T O S A C R IF IC E .

Jade versions o f the sharp spines fro m the stingray survive fro m O lm ec tim es, in d ic atin g th a t d u rin g th e firs t m ille n n iu m BC M eso am erican peoples w e re fa m ilia r w ith the serrated bony spine th a t arm s th e ta il o f this SEA crea tu re . Because o f th e acute angle o f the serrations, once a stin g ray spine has p ierced the skin it cannot be rem oved w ith o u t causing p a in fu l dam age: it is easier in fa c t to p u ll the spine co m p letely through a p e rfo r­ atio n . T h e M a y a b u rie d th e ir noble m ale dead w ith stingray spines - perhaps in pouches long decayed - over th e g ro in , and these spines w e re th e perfo rato rs used to d ra w blood fro m the penis. T h e M a y a also p ierced th e ir Resh w ith O B S ID IA N blo o d letters and carved bones. T h e y collected th e d rip p in g blood on strips o f PAPER w hich they then placed in broad, R atbottom ed bow ls and set aRre. The im p lem en ts, as w e ll as the bow ls, w e re fre ­ q u en tly p rize d fu n e ra ry offerings; nobles w rap p ed b lo o d lettin g eq u ip m en t in th e ir sacred B U N D L E S . Y axchilan w om en o ften w o re headdresses lik e those o f w a rrio rs w hen undergoing autosacriRce and it was not uncom m on fo r m en to adopt the m u tila te d , shredded a ttire o f captives, as i f id e n tify in g th e ir ow n b lo o d lettin g w ith th a t o f sacriRcial victim s. C aptives them selves m ay have been forced to p erfo rm autosacriRce; some bear the necessary spines and p ap er in ancient


47

BUNDLE Blood serpents emanating from the neck of a decapitated ballplayer, El Aparicio, Veracruz, Late Classic period.

depictions. In o th er cases, victors fo rcib ly d rew the blood o f captives, as shown in the Bonam pak m urals, w h ere w arrio rs p u ll out the Engernails o f th e ir prisoners. M a y a bloodletters and o th er things associ­ ated w ith blo o d lettin g often bear the trip le "bow tie ," probably a rep resen tatio n o f kno t­ ted paper. T h e m o tif turns up a t T u la (see T O L L A N ) and T e n o c h titla n , w h ere it is fea tu re d on the body o f the x iu H C O A T L , lin kin g it to blood and sacriEce. M ost C e n tra l M exican peoples used the spines o f the MAGUEY p lan t to d ra w blood, and to keep these spines sharp and a t hand they stored them in a b a ll o f tw isted grass, much as a seamstress keeps h er needles and pins in a cushion. T h e grass b all w ith spines becam e an im p o rtan t sym bol o f A ztec n o b il­ ity , in d icatin g both th e ir p riv ile g e and th e ir responsibility to le t blood. In A ztec represen­ tations of b loodletting, lords and gods d raw blood from the ear, shin, knee, and elbow .

Figure engaged in bloodletting from his penis, detail of Huastec conch shell pendant, Postclassic period.

5 e e a / s o HU M A N SACRIFICE.

bundle Sacred bundles w e re an im p o rtan t p a rt o f M esoam erican history and ritu a l. In contrast to MERCHANT bundles, w hich are oblong and w rap p ed w ith rope and m attin g , sacred bundles are usually round w ith prom i­ nent, large knots. C le a r exam ples occur in the a rt o f the Classic M a y a as w e ll as o f the Postclassic Aztecs and M ixtees. Sacred bundles often play an im p o rtan t role in the jo u rn e y and m igrations o f a people to th e ir chosen place. In the POPOLVUH account o f the legendary m igrations o f the Q uiche M a y a , the Pizom G agal bundle represents the deceased ancestor B alam Q u itze. In its account o f the A ztec jo u rn e y from A ztlan , the Codex B o tu rin i care fu lly represents four bundle-bearers. T h e most im p o rtan t o f these bundles belonged to H U iTziLO P O C H TLi, the patro n god o f the Aztecs. As la te as 1539, 18 years a fte r the fa ll o f T en o c h titla n , Spanish oEScials accused an in d iv id u al nam ed D on M ig u e l o f caring for A ztec god bundles, including th a t o f H u itzilo p o ch tli. A ccording to one 16th c. account from the V a lle y o f M exico , the Erst god bundles w ere fashioned from the rem ains o f gods sacriEced a fte r the creation o f the SUN a t TEOTiHUACAN. M asked d eity bundles resem bling fu n e ra ry bundles occur in M a y a iconography as e arly as the 4th c. AD. O n T ik a l Stela 4, the ru le r C u r! Snout holds a m asked TLALOC bundle ren dered in the fashion o f T eo tih u acan . A side

(Be/ow) Grass ball containing maguey spine bloodletters, detail from Codex Borbonicus, p. 18, Late Postclassic Aztec.

(Be/ow) Sacred bundles: (left to right) bundle with icatz glyph, Yaxchilán Lintel 1, Late Classic Maya; smoking bundle, Codex Borgia, p. 35, Late Postclassic; bundle with Hint blade of 9 Wind, Codex Nuttall, p. 15, Late Postclassic Mixtee.


BUTTERFLY from m asked god bundles, ro u n d , kno tted bundles com m only a p p e ar in Classic M a y a

as th e trunks o f trees, presum ably to re p ­ resent the axis m o o d /, g en e rally considered

scenes. In a n u m b er o f instances, th e y a re

as th e CEIBA (C erh a spp ). W ith its thorny,

e p ig rap h ically la b ele d ic atz, m ean in g

sw ellin g tru n k , the ceiba does in d eed bear

bund­

le " or "b u rd e n " in several h ig h lan d M a y a n

som e resem blance to th e rough back o f the

languages. .See a/so MORTUARY BUNDLES.

caim an. In N a h u a tl, th e term fo r caim an is cipacfA, m eaning "sp in y o n e."

b u tte rfly A lthough re la tiv e ly ra re in an cien t M a y a a rt, b u tte rflie s com m only ap p e ar in the

B oth

th e

M aya

and

C e n tra l M exicans

id e n tifie d th e caim an w ith aged c reato r gods.

iconography o f h ighland M ex ico , p a rtic u la rly

In C e n tra l M .exico, the aged TONACATECUHTLi,

a t the g re at cen ter o f TEonHUACAN, w h e re

or L o rd o f O u r Sustenance, presided o ver the

they o ften display w ings, antenn ae, fe a th e re d

Erst o f th e 20 day nam es, C ip a c tli, or C aim an ,

proboscises

as w e ll as the 13-day TRECENA o f 1 C ip a c tli

and

fe a th e r-rim m e d

eyes.

ad d itio n , they m ay be d epicted w ith toothy m aw o f the

JAG UA R .

In the

T h e b u tte rfly -

(see

CA LEN DA R).

A m ong the M a y a , this aged

creato r god w as know n as rrzA M N A, q u ite

ja g u a r also appears am ong the Classic p erio d

possibly th e p aram o u n t god o f the M a y a

Zapotees and M a y a , fre q u e n tly in contexts o f

p antheon. In a n u m b er o f instances, Itza m n a

Postclassic C e n tra l M exico ,

is p o rtray ed w ith in the body o f the caim an,

b u tterflies sym bolized both FIRE and the souls

p ro b ab ly Itz a m n a as Itz a m C a b A in , m eaning

o f dead w arrio rs. Seen in the fig h t o f the m ilita ris tic b u tte rfly -ja g u a r and the w id e ­

Itz a m E a rth C aim an .

spread appearance o f b u tterflies on T e o tih u acan INCENSE burners, the Teo tih u acan b u tte r­

calen d ar M eso am erican

fly can also be id e n tifie d w ith

o th er p erce iva b le phenom ena as w e ll as su p ern atu ral and ritu a l cycles w hose fu n d a ­

w a r. In

L a te

FIR E

and w ar.

calendars

tracked

the solar y ea r, lu n a r y e a r, Venus cycle, and

m en tal bases re m ain unknow n. T h e c alen d ar was essential to the arts o f p re d ictio n and

cacao W h e th e r consumed as an esteem ed d rin k or exchanged as m oney, cacao (71heobronia cacao) was one o f the most im p o rtan t p lan t products o f ancien t M esoam erica. T h e seeds d erived from the pod o f the cacao tree w ere w id e ly used as currency and John Llo yd Stephens reported the use o f cacao currency as la te as the m id -19th c. in Yucatan. W h en ground in to pow der, the seeds w e re m ixed w ith w a te r and flavoring agents to create a fro th y beverage g reatly favored by the n ative e lite . R ecent epigraphic research has estab­ lished th a t the w ord cacao was fu lly present among the Classic M a y a - in fact, m any o f the fine Classic M a y a polychrom e vases are g lyphically lab eled as cacao d rin kin g vessels. caim an O ne o f the m ost ven erated carnivores o f M esoam erica was the caim an (C arm an crocodi/us). Because o f its aquatic h a b ita t, g reat size, and spiny back, the caim an was a com m on m etaphor fo r the m ountainous EARTH Boating upon the SEA. E x p lic it portrayals o f the caim an appear as e a rly as the F o rm ative O lm ec, w h ere it is ren dered both in p o rtab le a rt and m onum ental sculpture. In the a rt o f L a te Preclassic Iza p a , caim ans are depicted

D iv iN A T iO N as w e ll as to the c eleb ratio n o f religious festivals. T h e m ost sophisticated calen d rical observations in a n c ie n t M exico and G u a te m ala w e re m ade b y the Classic M a y a , A D 3 0 0 -9 0 0 , b u t w ritte n evidence fo r use o f a calen d ar goes back to th e 6 th c. B e .

J2#0-c%ay aAnanac Com m on to a ll M eso am erica, th e 2 60-d ay cycle, the oldest and m ost im p o rta n t calen d ar, rem ains in use am ong a fe w groups o f h ig h ­ lan d M a y a in G u a te m ala and am ong some O axacan peoples. (Som e h ig h lan d M a y a s till keep a 365-d ay calendar as w e ll.) In this calendar, a re p ea tin g cycle o f 20 d ay nam es pairs w ith 13 day num bers, y ield in g a count o f 260 days, a n um ber th a t bears no re latio n e ith e r to astronom ical or to a g ric u ltu ra l phen­ om ena. I t w as p robably devised by m idw ives to calculate b irth d ates, w o rkin g fro m Erst m issed m enstrual p erio d to BIRTH, approxim at­ ing the 9-m o n th hum an gestation p eriod. In m any parts o f M exico , hum ans and gods took th e ir nam es fro m th e ir d ate o f b irth in this calen d ar, and w e re reg ard ed as having com­ p le te d one 260-d ay cycle a t b irth . This calen d ar took a special nam e in every n ativ e language, although m any o f the nam es are now lost, and archaeologists have some-


CALENDAR

49 (Le/t) Butterdy warrior with shield and spearthrower, Xelha, Quintana Roo, Early Classic period. Although found in the Maya area, this mural painting is in typical Teotihuacan style.

tim es in ven ted term s lik e the pseudo-Yuca tec M a y a tzo/Ain to re fe r to the count o f 260 days. T h e Aztecs called it the fona^poAua///, and the book in w hich it was recorded the fonalam af/. N o o th er book in M esoam erica was so im p o rtan t to the d iv in e r, fo r the 260day alm anac was the fun d am en tal guide to the fu tu re , and every day and num ber oRered clues for in te rp re ta tio n . G ifts and short­ comings w e re bestow ed by one's d ate o f b irth , and those bom on troublesom e days w e re o ften renam ed on m ore auspicious ones. Each one o f the 20 day nam es had a specidc association w ith a supernatural patron, and m any had associations w ith n atu ra l phen­ om ena. T h e M a y a and A ztec associations are as follow s:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Maya glyph to be read cacao, from cacao vessel excavated at Río Azul, Guatemala, Early Classic period. Caiman tree, detail of Izapa Stela 25, Protoclassic Maya. This tree probably refers to the great ceiba, which has a green spiny trunk reminiscent of the

M a y a , Yucatec nam e

A ztec nam e

m eaning, association

Im ix (w a te rlily ) Ik (w in d ) A kb a l (darkness) K an (m aize) C hicchan (celestial snake) C im i (d eath ) M a n ik (d e e r) L a m a t (Venus) M u lu c (jad e, w a te r) O c (dog) C huen (m onkey) E b (e v il rain?) B en (green m aize) lx (jag u ar)

C ip a c tli (caim an) E hecatl (w in d ) C a lli (house) C u etzp allin (liza rd ) C o atí (snake) M iq u iz tli (death ) M a za tl (d eer) T o ch tli (ra b b it) A tl (w a te r) Itz c u in tli (dog) O zo m atli (m onkey) M a lin a lli (grass)

surface o f the earth w ind night, darkness, ja g u ar m aize, abundance snake death deer Venus, ra b b it w a te r dog m onkey

A catl (reed ) O celotl (jag u ar)

ja g u ar eagle

15 16

M e n (eag le)

C u a u h tli (eagle)

C ib (w ax)

C ozcacuauhtli (king v u ltu re )

17

C aban (e a rth )

18 19 20

Edznab (d in t) C auac (storm )

O llin (m ovem ent) T e c p a tl (d in t)

e a rth , earth q uake d in t

Q u ia h u itl (ra in ) X ó ch itl (d o w er)

ra in , storm sun

A hau (lo rd )


50

CALENDAR Tibe trecena In the ton a/am at/, the p erio d o f 260 days was

n ew 3 65-d ay y ea r. A m ong some groups, the

d ivid ed in to TRECENAS (th e N a b u a t! w ord is no !onger know n, and M esoam ericanists use th e

tic u la rly dangerous, and it was considered ill fo rtu n e fo r a child to be b om at that tim e.

6ve nam eless days w e re thought to be par

Spanish te rm ), or periods o f 13 days, counted 1 -1 3 , w ith each new trecena beginning w ith

Tibe c ale n d a r ro u n d o r 5 2 -y e a r cyc/e

the num era! 1. T h e 6rst day o f the trecena

W hen

and its auguries reigned over the e n tire 13-

calen d ar w e re set in m otion w ith one ano th er,

day p erio d , as d id one o r tw o gods. A ccording

it took exactly 52 years o f 365 days, a to tal of

the 260 -d a y calen d ar and 365-day

to the C odex Borbonicus, fo r exam pie, those

18,980 days, fo r a given d ate to re p ea t. T h is

born in the trecena 1 A t! w ou!d be im p o ver­

p erio d is called a calen d ar round, and any

ished, and the e n tire 13-day perio d begun on

hum an com pletin g a cale n d ar round w ould

th a t p a rtic u ia r day was in genera! a bad one.

have

been

old

in d eed .

The

Aztecs

re p ­

resented th e c ale n d ar round as the xiu b m o /71be so/ar y e a r In conjunction w ith the 260-d ay alm anac a

pj7b, or " y e a r b u n d le ," and carved sculptures o f 52 sticks bound to g eth er to sym bolize it.

365-d ay calen d ar was used. C orresponding

A m ong th e A ztecs, th e com pletion o f 52

roughly to the solar year b u t lacking the leap

years - and the b eg inning o f a n ew calen d ar

days necessary fo r long-term accuracy o f the

round - com m anded w idesp read p re p a ra tio n .

tru e tropica! year, this calen d ar was d ivid ed

T o in itia te a n ew cale n d ar round, the Aztecs

into

c eleb rated the ritu a l o f N e w F ire . T h e last N e w F ire cerem ony w as cele b rated d u rin g

18 periods o f 20 days each, plus 5

"nam eless" and unlucky days at the end o f the year. In C en tra! M exico, each 20-d ay period was called a VEINTENA, lite ra lly a " u n it o f tw e n ty " in Spanish. Each group o f 20 days had its own "m o n th " nam e and was linked w ith a num ber from 1 to 20 or 0 to 19, depending on the region. Am ong the Classic M a y a , each o f the m onths had a supernatural p atron; the W a te r L ily Jaguar, for exam ple, oversaw the first m onth, Pop. Each A ztec year bore the nam e o f the 260day alm anac th a t occurred on the last day o f the 18th m onth. This works out to be one o f fou r possible day nam es (w ith its n um ber). T h e M a y a and most other peoples nam ed th e ir years for the first day o f the n ew year in the 260-day alm anac. These days w ere called YEARBEAREHS and historical dates from the A ztec reign are g en erally know n by the y earb earer nam e. T h e Spanish, fo r exam ple, began th e ir m arch to the A ztec capita! in the year 1 A catl (1 R eed). W ith o u t leap days, the calendar slow ly w an d ered through the seasons, req u irin g m ovable feasts or periodic reconfiguration o f agricu ltu ral festivals. Archaeologists call this year the "V ag u e Y e a r," and, in the M a y a region, re fe r to it as the baab. Tibe veintena Less im p o rtan t than the trecena to the Aztecs was the VEINTENA, the 20-day p erio d , or "m o n th ." T h e 18 A ztec veintenas w e re succeeded by the nem ontem i, or nam eless days, a fte r T ititl, before the beginning o f a

the m onth o f P a n q u e tza liztli, a fe w m onths a fte r the n ew y ea r o f 2 A ca tl (2 R eed) had begun in

AD

1507. bee a/so

EIRE.

T b e Long^ C o u n í an¿/ TnitiaV .Servas C h a rtin g longer periods o f tim e re q u ired a d iffe re n t kind o f calen d ar. T o w a rd th e end o f the L a te Preclassic, in a ll likelih o o d som e­ w h ere along th e Isthm us o f T eh u a n te p ec , w h a t is know n as the Long C o u n t was in tro ­ duced, to be p erfe cted by the M a y a in Classic tim es. Long C o u n t dates record th e to ta l num ber o f days elapsed since a m ythological zero d ate th a t can be co rrela ted to 2 A ugust 3114 Be in E uropean n o tatio n. L ik e a ll M esoam erican counts, the Long C o u n t used the vigesim al (i.e . based on th e n u m b er 2 0 ), ra th e r than decim al, system . T h e m ost fu n d am en tal u n it was the day, or Am, to fo llo w the Yucatec M a y a term in olo gy from the tim e o f th e C onquest. Periods o f tim e w e re counted by days, periods o f 20 days (th e u in a l), years - som etim es called "co m p u tin g years" by archaeologists - o f 360 days (th e tun ), 2 0-ye ar periods o f 360 days each (th e Aa tun ), and 400 -y ea r periods (th e baAtun). E ven la rg er periods o f tim e w e re c a lib ra te d , and a t the tim e o f th e C onquest, w ords w ere s till know n fo r 8000 tuns (th e p ic tu n ) and 160,000 tuns (th e caTabtun). Long C o u n t dates w e re inscribed in place n o tatio n, beginning w ith the largest u n it, usually the baAfun, and m oving in o rd er to th e sm allest one, the Ain, in a p a tte rn th a t has also com e to be called


A!1 Mesoamerica observed the ca/endar round or 52-year cyc/e, created by the intermeshing of the 260-day calendar (left) and the 365-day calendar (right). It is drawn here as a system of interlocking cog wheels and follows standard Maya notation, although the days and months had different names and symbols in each culture. The 260-day calendar is composed of 20 day names (outer wheel) and 13 day numbers (inner wheel), both of which rotate endlessly. It takes 260 days for all the combinations to occur. The 365-day calendar comprises 18 months, each of which has only 20 days, numbered 0-19 or 1-20 depending on the region, and the 5 unlucky days. In this larger wheel, the end of the month of Cumku and the 5 unlucky days are shown - other month glyphs are at the right. Here, 13 Ahau (left) and 18 Cumku interlock. It will take 52 x 365 days (or 52 years) before the cycles will all reach this point again. (Below) Calendar wheel representing the 52 years of the yearbearer cycle, Manuscrit Tovar, 16th c. Central Mexico.


52

CALENDAR the

In itia l Series. T h is cale n d ar bore

no

re la tio n to the solar y e a r and w as usually used in conjunction w ith dates in both the 3 65-d ay calen d ar and the 260 -d a y alm anac. Long C o u n t or In itia l Series dates can be easily recognized:

they usually begin M a y a

inscriptions and a re in d icated by la rg e in tro ­

called th e S u p p lem en tary Series, and in the series o f lunations counted in the Postclassic D resd en C odex. In th e S u p p lem en tary Series, ages o f lu n atio n s on a given d ate a re g en e rally reckoned from th e Rrst appearance o f the n ew

MOON,

counted by th e ir position in the

six-m onth lu n a r h a lf-y e a r, and ta llie d for to ta l

ductory glyphs called " In itia l Series In tro d u c ­

days, e ith e r 2 9 or 30. E v e n tu a lly , the M a y a

ing G lyp h s."

T h e coefficients to th e glyphs

cam e to recognize th a t 149 lunations = 4,400

re fe rrin g to the periods o f tim e a re fre q u e n tly

days, or 2 9 .5 30 20 days p e r m onth in decim al

recorded in b a r-a n d -d o t n u m eratio n in w hich

term s, a n u m b er v e ry close to the 29.53059

Rve dots equal one bar. T o hold open Riled places, this calen d ar

used by m o d ern astronom ers.

requires a n u ll cip h er, a p laceh old er s im ila r

In and o f its e lf, a lu n a r calen d ar m ay have been o f in trin s ic in te re s t, b u t c a re fu l lu n a r

to our zero, although in the M a y a conception

calculations w e re also necessary in o rd er to

the place is fu ll, or com pleted, ra th e r than

produce

em p ty. T h e in te lle c tu a l develo pm en t o f the

b eliev ed to th re a te n disaster fo r M es o am e ri­

idea o f zero took place only tw ice in h istory once in ancien t In d ia , am ong the H in d u s, and

been o f g re a t use. Solar eclipses take place

once in M esoam erica. T h e Postclassic M a y a represented the sym bol for com pletion as a SHELL,

probably because they used such shells

in w orking out th e ir a rith m etic. T h e Classic M a y a used an abstract cruciform sym bol som ew hat resem bling the E uropean M a lte s e cross, possibly a schema d erived from an outstretched hum an body, the 20 digits o f Rngers and toes in dicating a fu ll vigesim al place. T h e head v a ria n t o f the com pletion sign is the head o f a death god. T h e M a y a celebrated p eriod-ending dates, th a t is, dates o f com pletion o f periods o f tim e, fre q u e n tly Aafuns o r half-A a funs. T h e com pletion o f 13 Aafuns in the ten th AaAiun (th a t is, a fte r the com pletion o f the n in th and w h ile the tenth was ongoing) was m uch celebrated by the M a y a and w ould be tra n ­ scribed in A rab ic num bers as 9.13 .0 .0.0. T h e tro p ica / y e a r D esp ite the fact th a t M esoam erican calendars included no mechanism s for tracking tru e tropical years and the leap days they re q u ire , the p a tte rn o f anniversaries celeb rated a t some M a y a cities and recorded in the Long C ount indicates th a t those w ho counted the solar years w e re w e ll aw are o f the problem . A t Piedras N egras, tru e tro pical year a n n ive r­ saries w e re calculated over periods o f a t least 200 years. The A m ar ca/en d ar a n d Fo/ar ecApses A lthough lu n a r calendars m ay w e ll have been kep t across M esoam erica, the only recorded ones survive in M a y a inscriptions, appended to the In itia l Series as p a rt o f w h a t has been

E C LIP S E

w a rn in g dates. Eclipses w e re

can p eo p le, so th e ir p re d ictio n w o u ld have only d u rin g th e d ark o f the m oon, and w ith in 18 days o f w h en the m oon's p ath crosses the a p p a re n t p ath o f th e s u N . T h e lu n a r tables o f the D resd en C odex c a lib ra te d such coinci­ dences in o rd er to g en e rate eclipse w a rn in g dates. L a te in th e 8 th c., a to ta l eclipse d id occur d u rin g the d ry season in th e M a y a low lands, and the phenom enon w as recorded in the S u p p lem en tary Series o f a stela a t Santa E len a Poco U in ic .

iRipp/emen/ary Series T h e calen d rical d ata th a t fo llo w the In itia l Series in M a y a inscriptions a re know n as the S u p p lem en tary Series, or L u n a r Series, because m ost o f the in fo rm a tio n c arried th e re deals w ith the m oon. T h e glyphs have been given a lp h ab et labels by m odern scholars and ru n in reverse o rd er, s tartin g w ith th e le tte r G and continuing on through A . G lyp h C com prises the n in e various M a y a Lords o f th e N ig h t (see b elo w ). G lyp h F refers to G lyp h C and p ro b ab ly signiRes its seating. G lyphs E and D record the age o f the c u rren t m oon. G lyp h C records the n u m b er o f moons com pleted in th e c u rre n t lu n a r h a lf-y e a r, and so it usually bears a coefRcient. A fte r the le tte rs had alrea d y been designated, scholars noticed th a t a glyph fo llo w in g C v arie d depending on the coefRcient o f G lyp h C , and it w as lab eled X , w ith varian ts X 1 -X 6 . G lyp h B features a ro d en t head; it links G lyphs X and A in d icatin g only th a t X nam es A . G lyp h A conRrms th a t the c u rre n t lu n a r m onth is o f 29 or 30 days. G lyphs Y and Z occasionally app ear b etw e en G lyphs F and E ; th e ir m ean­ ing is obscure.


53

CALENDAR

& /9-d ay count T h e M a y a h eld the num bers 7, 9, and 13 to be sacred. M u ltip lie d , they y ield 819, the num ber o f days counted in a never-en din g cycle th a t occasionally exists as a separate clause inserted in the Supplem entary Series follow ing an In itia l Series. (O n ly 13 exam ples are know n.) N o beginning d ate is know n for the cycle, b u t days are alw ays counted backw ard from the In itia l Series in o rd er to reach the last date on w hich the cycle was com pleted. These 819-day references have four d iffe re n t stations, each associated w ith one o f the fou r card in al DIRECTIONS and its associated COLOR. Lords o f the N ig h t M o st M esoam erican calendars included a separate count o f the N in e Lords o f the N ig h t, w ho ru le d over the n ig h ttim e hours. T h e M a y a N in e Lords are know n as the " G " series o f the Supplem entary Series. Some o f the M a y a N in e Lords have been id e n tifie d w ith specific gods: G 7, for exam ple, m ay w e ll be the ja g u ar-p aw e d patron o f the m onth Pax; G 9 is a PAUAHTUN. T h e M a y a Lords o f the N ig h t ran continuously through the Long C ount. Since the 360 days o f the M a y a tun are p erfe ctly d ivisib le by nine, every period ending d ate o f the Long C o un t o f a tun or la rg e r included G 9. T h e A ztec Lords o f the N ig h t w ere inscribed in the d iv in ato ry ton a/am at/section o f m any o f the C onquest-era m anuscripts th a t survive - som etim es w ith notations in E uropean script, w hich fa c ilita te th e ir id e n ti­ fication. A lthough th e re was some variatio n depending on tim e and region, m any o f the N in e Lords w e re standard, and the cycle g en erally ran: x iu H T E C U H T L i, Itz tli or T ec p atl, P iltzin te c u h tli, CINTEO TL, M IC TLA N TE C U H TH , C H A LC H IU H TLIC U E , TLAZOLTEOTL, T e p e yo llo tl, and TLALO C. Each one o f these nine gods p ro b ab ly h eld an association w ith one o f the nine levels o f the UNDERWORLD. U n lik e the M a y a series, the A ztec series d id not alw ays run continuously and som etim es began anew

A Long Count date from Burial 48 at the Maya site of Tikal, Guatemala. The date given reading from top to bottom - is 9.1.1.10.10 4 Oc, or 9 baktuns, 1 katun, 1 tun, 10 uinals and 10 kins, with the day name 4 Oc at the bottom. In modern terms this is 19 March AD 457.

w ith each trecena.

Ards o/ the Day Associated w ith the 13 levels o f the heavens, 13 birds served as patrons o f the daytim e * hours. T h e y re p ea t in o rd er, fo llo w in g the day num bers o f the trecena, or 13-day "w e e k " o f the Aztecs. Jonathan K en d all has recently revised A lfonso Caso's identifications.

Glyph G of the Supplementary Series, referring to the nine Lords o f the MgAt, Late Classic Maya.


54

CAMAXTLI A !though o fte n re fe rre d to as B irds o f the

w h a t the A ztecs considered a "g re a t c ycle,"

D a y , these creatures a re m ore a p p ro p ria te ly

the Venus, 260 -d a y, and 3 65-d ay cycles a ll

called

BUTTERFLY. M o s t are creatures o f th e d a y tim e ,

lin e d up. Such n u m erical coincidences of in te rlo c k in g cycles app ealed to M eso am eri-

b u t a t least tw o OWLS occur in th e series. T h e y

can calen d ar keepers and fa c ilita te d calcu­

can be id e n tife d as the fo llo w in g , in English

lations. In both M ex ica n and M a y a records, Venus

vo latiles,

since one is specifically a

and N a h u a tl, w ith possible zoological id e n ti-

w as recorded to ap p e ar fo r 236 days as the

Acations: 1. H u m m in g b ird , p ro b ab ly x iu h u itzilin

m orning star, then to disappear fo r 90 days

2. H u m m in g b ird , p ro b ab ly q u e tza lh u itzilin ,

d u rin g S uperior C o nju nctio n , re ap p ea r as the

C a /y p fe costae 3. D o ve, cocotli, 5carc/aie//a inca 4. Q u a il, tecuzolin, C yrto n yx m o n iezu m ae

in to In fe rio r C o nju nctio n fo r 8 days befo re

5. R aven or Black

im possible to reconstruct, these calculations

H a w k -e a g le , possibly

observed by the naked eye: roughly equal

7. B u tte rfly , p ap alo tl 8. E agle, cu au h tli, A q u /ia cArysaetos 9. T u rk e y , toto lin , M e/ea^ g risg a//o p avo G re a t H o rn ed O w l, tecolotl, B ubo vngn?-

ianns 11. Scarlet macao 12. Q u e tza l,

re ap p ea rin g as the m o rn in g star. F o r reasons ignore the p a tte rn o f Venus th a t can be

itz tlh o tli 6. O w l, ch icu atli, 7 y fo aiba

10

evening star fo r 250 days, then b rie fly vanish

periods o f 263 days fo r both m orning and evening star, d iv id ed by disappearances o f 50 and 8 days. Because o f the extrem e m alevo lence associ­ ated w ith Venus, its d ra m a tic m ovem ents

M ac aw ,

A ra

o ften assured b a le fu l events, p a rtic u la rly w a r­ fare . In the Venus c ale n d ar, special a tte n tio n

Pbarom acbrus

was given to the risings o f the m orning and evening star im m e d ia te ly fo llo w in g conjunc­

chiconcuetzali,

q u etzalto to tl,

m ocinno 13. P arro t, toznene, A m azona orairúr Lords o f tbe D a y T h irte e n Lords o f the D ay accom panied each day o f the trecena, rep eatin g anew and in o rder for each trecena. A ccording to m ost A ztec sources, these gods ran as follow s: 1. X iu h te cu h tli 2. T la lte c u h tli 3. C h alchiuhtlicue 4. T o n atiu h 5. T la zo lte o tl 6. M ic tla n te c u h tli 7. C in te o tl 8. T lalo c 9. Q uetzalcoatl 10. Tezcatlipoca 11. C halm ecatecuhtli, a god o f sacrifice 12. T lah u izcalp an tecu h tli 13. C itlalin cu e , goddess o f the heavens Penns cycie Throughout M esoam erica, VENUS was the m ost keenly observed p lan et, and its cycle o f $84 days was c arefu lly charted and inscribed alongside other calendrical reckonings. A lthough the synodic period o f the p la n et varies from 580 to 587 days, any Eve cycles average out to 584 days fo r a to ta l o f 2920 days, also the m u ltip le o f 8 x 365. W h en considered in term s o f tw o 5 2-ye ar cycles, or

tion, as w e ll as to points o f m axim um b rig h t­ ness, m axim um elongation, and to station ary points. C am a xtli

s e e M ix c o A T L

cannibalism In re ce n t years, the subject o f M esoam erican cannibalism has been h o tly d ebated. Some scholars have suggested th a t cannibalism d id not occur; others have argued th a t hum an Aesh form ed an essential com pon­ e n t o f the A ztec d ie t. I t is u n lik e ly th a t e ith e r assertion is tru e . R eports o f cannibalism a re not sim ply a product o f E u ro p ean bias or propaganda fo r th e re is a b u n d an t evidence o f cannibalism in e arly C o lo n ial n a tiv e docu­ m ents. H o w e v e r, the e atin g o f hum an Aesh was n e ith e r com m on n o r casual; it was a religious act im bued w ith sacred signiAcance. P robably o f considerable a n tiq u ity in M eso am erica, cannibalism is suggested by fra c tu re d hum an bone in E a rly F o rm a tiv e household refuse deposits a t th e O lm ec site o f San L orenzo. H o w e v e r, the best docum ent­ atio n o f cannibalism p ertain s to the L a te Postclassic p erio d . A m ong the Tarascans o f M ich o acán , the bodies o f hum an victim s w e re d ivid ed am ong the c h ie f PRIESTS, w ho, a fte r offerin g th e Aesh to the gods, w ould consume the rem ains. A ccording to D ie g o de Landa and o th er C o lo n ial sources, th e Yucatec M a y a


55

CAPTIVES

also considered the Hesh o f HUMAN SACRIFICE to be sacred food. T h e hoiy q u a lity o f hum an Hesh is most fu lly docum ented fo r th e Aztecs. They com m only offered - as food fo r the gods - hum an HEARTS, Hesh, and BLOOD. Thus, believing the Spanish to be gods, the Aztecs in itia lly presented them w ith food soaked in hum an blood. B u t although hum an Hesh was used to sustain the gods, it also served as a vehicle for consum ing d iv in ity , th at is, as a form o f com m union. Thus DEITY IMPERSONATION was a freq u e n t com ponent o f A ztec sacriHcia! rites. W h en the victim em bodied the d eity , then one partook o f the d ivin e being through the consum ption o f hum an Hesh. canoe T h e dugout canoe was the most com ­ mon form o f boat in ancient M esoam erica and was used by long-distance seafarers as w e ll as by m ore conventional travelers on lakes and rivers. N e ith e r sails nor oarlocks w e re know n in the Precolum bian w o rld; skilled paddlers p ro p elled the c ra ft. C h ris­ topher C olum bus, on his fo u rth and Hnal voyage in 1502, encountered a huge M a y a canoe o ff the coast o f H onduras, "as long as a g alley and eig h t fe e t w id e ," m anned by at least tw o dozen crew , a cap tain , and assorted w om en and ch ild ren , and w ith some sort o f cabin am idships. A trad in g vessel, this canoe carried cotton m antles, w eapons, m etalw o rk, p o ttery, and CACAO. M esoam erican canoes are usually show n, h o w ever, as m uch sm aller c ra ft, w ith gunw hales near the w a te r. In a rt and WRITING, M a y a canoes som etim es bear the glyph for w ood, to indicate w h a t m a te ria l they w e re m ade of. In M a y a iconography, canoes carry the dead through the precarious passage from the w o rld o f the livin g to the w o rld o f the dead. L ik e th e ir hum an counterparts, gods also tra v e l by canoe. T h e CHACS (ra in gods) Bsh from canoes, and the PADDLER CODS escort characters in to the UNDERWORLD. In the M ixte e codices, M ix te e kings fre q u e n tly jo u rn ey by canoe. G iven the broad, slow -

Cannibalism: the cooking and consumption of human Hesh, Florentine Codex, Book 4, 16th c. Central Mexico.

A rain god (Chac) paddling a canoe containing the headdress and merchant bundle of God L, Dresden Codex, p. 43, Postclassic Maya.

m oving w aterw ays th a t cut across the O lm ec region o f the G u lf Coast, canoes w ere prob­ ably o f g re at signiHcance to th a t e a rly c iv iliz­ atio n , and a num ber o f m in iatu re canoes carved o f translucent b lu e-g reen JADE have been recovered from O lm ec Ends. captives In M esoam erican com bat, w arrio rs sought not to k ill opponents b u t to take captives a liv e on the Held fo r subsequent

Bas-relief of a captive ("Danzante") at Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Middle Formative period.


56

CARDINAL POINTS SACRIFICE or slavery. A ltho u g h m any captives w e re slain shortly a fte r c ap tu re, others m ay

the c iv il and religious responsibilities o f the com m unity. Q u ite o fte n , the in d iv id u a l pro*

have been kep t fo r years. A cap tive king - o f

vides both econom ic support and com m unity

w hich th e re w e re m any am ong the M a y a -

service in th e form o f w o rk tasks and ritu a l

w ould have m ade an id e al hostage and could

observances, in positions o f ro tatin g a u th o rity

have ensured larg e trib u te paym ents. A m ong

fre q u e n tly h eld one y e a r at a tim e.

the A ztecs, and perhaps am ong th e ir p re d e ­

A ltho u g h th e n a tiv e and Spanish origins of

cessors, captives w e re som etim es engaged to

m odern M eso am erican cargo systems a re still

p!ay g la d ia to ria l gam es, in w hich th e y p layed

a source o f som e d e b a te , th e concept o f pu b lic

w ith handicaps in o rd er to be d efe ated (see

ofhee as a b u rd en or "ca rg o " is o f g re at a n tiq u ity in M eso am erica. A m ong the T aras -

T E M A L A C A T L ).

P rio r to

A C C E S S IO N ,

kings needed to take

cans o f M ich o a cá n , one typ e o f n a tiv e p riest,

captives to dem onstrate th e ir prowess in

the C u ritie c h a , w as said to c a rry the burden

b a ttle , and some captives w ould be slain a t

o f the p eo p le upon his back. In the ritu a l

the in au gu ratio n its e lf. A ccording to D u ra n ,

address a t the

captives w ere offered and slain at e very m ajo r

A uey

festival o f the ag ricu ltu ra l cycle. T h e O lm ecs m ade the e arlies t depictions

described as a b u rd en to be passed from one

o f captives and they a re shown bound by ropes on the sides o f altars or thrones a t

b u rd en m ay be also seen in both O lm ec and M a y a representations o f a tla n te a n figures

T L A T O A N i,

A CC ESSIO N

o f the A ztec king, or

th e office o f ru lersh ip was

king to ano th er. T h is id ea o f ru le rsh ip as a

L a V en ta. A t M o n te A lb án , Zapotee lords

supporting thrones. A m ong the L a te Post­

proclaim ed th e ir victories in the first m ille n ­ nium BC w ith a series o f carved slabs w hich are m isnam ed ' D a n za n te s /* or "dancers'*

classic Yucatec M a y a the concept o f p u b lic

(see DANCE), but w hich actu ally d ep ict h u m ili­ ated captives, some w ith th e ir g e n ita lia cut aw ay. C aptives appear trodden under the fe e t on some o f the earliest M a y a m onum ents, a trad itio n th a t continued d u rin g the L a te Classic, w hen they a re also freq u e n tly re p ­ resented on both treads and risers o f stairs, w h ere th e ir depictions w ould be rep eated ly stepped on. M a y a captives usually display signs o f h u m iliatio n ; they are often naked, som etim es w ith exposed and exaggerated g en ita lia , and they b ear nam e glyphs on th e ir bodies. C aptives, as w e ll as lords p erfo rm ing A U T O S A C R IF IC E , donned strips o f PAPER or shred­ ded and punched cloth. As recorded in a rt, they m ake gestures o f abject obeisance, touching broken parasols to the earth , placing hands on the forehead or in the m outh, or crossing one arm across th e body to the opposite shoulder. A m ong the Aztecs and M ixtees, captives in p rep aratio n for sacrifice b ear paper banners; others w e ar tufts o f dow n on th e ir heads. T h e Aztecs p ainted other captives in the red candy-cane striping o f the god M ix c o A T L . card in al points

F e e D IR E C T IO N S

cargo In m any regions o f contem porary M esoam erica, a ritu a l system know n as the cargo defines the m eans o f p artic ip a tin g in

office as a b u rd en w as d e fin ite ly present. H e re it was know n as cucA, th e Yucatec M a y a n w ord fo r b u rd en . In L a te Postclassic Y ucatán, w e a lth y com m oners, ra th e r than nobles, served in the office o f aA cucA caA, o r " b e a re r o f the c o m m u n ity ." A ccording to one 16th c. Spanish source, the aA cucA caA oversaw the p aym en t o f trib u te and organized his tow n w a rd fo r w a r and p u b lic cerem onies. C auac M o n s te r

F e e M O U N T A IN S

caves In tra d itio n a l M eso am erica, caves a re g en e rally regarded w ith a c e rtain degree o f am bivalence. Sources o f fe rtility and riches, they also open in to th e U N D E R W O R L D and the d ark, unw holesom e w o rld o f the dead. In L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ic a n a rt, openm outhed SERPENTS rep resen ted caves, as if the convoluted passageways constituted the entrails o f the snake. C ave w orship extends back to a t least O lm ec tim es. O lm ec thrones com m only d ep ict in d ivid u als em erging out o f c ircu lar niches th a t p ro b ab ly rep resen t caves. A t O x to titla n , Juxtlahuaca, and o th e r caves o f h ighland G u e rrero , paintings in p u re O lm ec style adorn entrances and w alls deep w ith in , strongly suggesting th a t these isolated caves w ere im p o rta n t PILGRIMAGE sites. T h e q u a tre fo il fre q u e n tly sym bolized the cave in O lm ec a rt. Rock carvings a t C halcatzingo d ep ict the q u a tre fo il in p ro file and ezi face as a m onstrous face sprouting M A IZ E foliage.


57

CELESTIAL BIRD

T h e ritu a l use o f caves was com m on d u rin g the Classic p eriod. Excavations in 1971 revealed th a t a q u a tre fo il cave lies d ire ctly underneath the massive P yram id o f the Sun at TEOTiHUACAN. M u c h lik e the la te r C H i c o M O Z Toc o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , this cave m ay have represented a place o f em erg­ ence. C ave sites are w idespread in the karstic terra in o f the M a y a low lands. T h e cave o f N a j T u n ich , G u atem ala, contains L a te Classic paintings and h ieroglyphic texts o f excep­ tio n al reB nem ent and beauty. ceiba Sacred to the M a y a , the ceiba tree was freq u e n tly recognized as a liv in g axis m undi th a t p en e trated the navel o f the EARTH, reach­ ing from the UNDERWORLD to the heavens. T h e M a y a called th e ceiba yaxcAé, m eaning Erst or green tree . I t is lik e ly th a t one w ould have been found a t the cen ter o f m ost p re C onquest cities or villages, b u t ceibas m ay also have been found a t the outskirts, one to m ark each o f the fou r card in al DIRECTIONS. Young ceiba trees are spiny, and some spiked M a y a braziers m ay have been form ed in th e ir im age. T h e fu lly grow n ceiba shoots up ta ll and straig h t, w ith fe w or no branches u n til the le v e l o f ra in forest canopy. T h e re , the m ajor branches m ay be lim ite d to four, and thus the ceiba m ay also have served as the m odel fo r the cross m o tif in Classic M a y a a rt. T h e fo u r-p eta led Row er o f the ceiba m ay play a role in M a y a iconography. A t the tim e o f the Conquest, the Yucatec M a y a believed th a t the ceiba tree shaded the d iv in e paradise, offering refuge to those fo rtu n ate enough to ascend th ere. A ccording to some accounts, the ceiba was also the Rrst tree o f the w o rld. A t Iza p a , in a depiction o f w h a t is p ro b ab ly a creation story, the ceiba arises fro m a CA IM A N . As a m em ber o f the bom bax (Bom bacacae) fa m ily , ceiba tre e pods hold kapok, or silkcotton, a Rber w ith lo w specific g ra vity and com plete w a te r resistance th a t is now com ­

A captive incised on bone from Burial 116, Temple 1, Tikal, Late Classic Maya. According to the text, this individual was a captive from the site of Calakmul.

m only used to 611 life jackets. celestial b ird C elestial birds are associated w ith the card in al points in M esoam erican re lig io n . O n the 6rst page o f the Codex F é je rv á ry -M a y e r, celestial birds perch atop each o f the fo u r trees associated w ith the tfo u r DIRECTIONS. T h e Aztecs also assigned 13 "v o la tile s ," o f w hich 12 a re birds and 1 is a BUTTERFLY,

to the 13 num bers o f th e calen d rical

TRECENA; because th e re a re 13, they m ay bear

An Olmec representation of a cave, Middle Formative period. Probably from Chalcatzingo, Morelos, this relief possesses a quatrefoil mouth that may have served as an entrance to an actual cave in its original context.


association w ith th e 13 levels o f the heavens,

C o n te m p o rary

M esoam erican

peoples

reg ard P rehispanic celts discovered in fields

giving them some celestial significance. A m ong the M a y a , v u c u B C A Q u i x o f th e P O P O L

as spent

vuH is a celestial b ird , fo r he rose as a false

such a b e lie f was also p resent am ong the

sun p rio r to the d aw n in g o f the e ra in w h ich

an c ie n t O lm ecs.

L i C H T N iN C .

I t is unknow n w h e th e r

hum ans po p ulated the e a rth . T h e H e ro T w in s shoot o u t his ja w w ith th e ir blow guns, causing

cenote K n ow n by a w o rd corru pted fro m the

his dem ise. T h is Vucub C aq u ix o f the Q uiche

Y ucatec M a y a n c&onof, cenotes, or n atu ra l

M a y a is the sam e celestial b ird id e n tifie d as

sinkholes, a re th e p rin c ip a l sources o f w a te r

the PRINCIPAL BIRD DEITY in Classic and L a te

in the n o rth e rn low lands o f Y ucatán, w h ere

Preclassic a rt. A t P iedras N egras, the P rin c i­

th e re a re n e ith e r rivers

p al B ird D e ity presides over the niche scenes

cenotes served p rim a rily as sources o f fresh

nor lakes. M a n y

o f royal inaugurations; a t P alen qu e, it sits

w a te r, b u t others, m ost n o ta b ly the Sacred

atop cruciform im ages. T h e P rin cip a l B ird

C en o te a t C h ich en

D e ity som etim es w ears costum e elem ents o f

destinations and places fo r offerings. Some

rrz A M N A ,

and m ay the re fo re be an aspect o f

th a t god.

Itz á , w e re

cenotes occur d eep w ith in

PILGRIMAGE

CAVES,

such as

B alankanche, w h e re John L lo y d Stephens and F re d e ric k C ath erw o o d v is ite d and docu­

celt A celt is a ground stone axe head. D u rin g

m ented an a ctive p ra ctice o f w orship in the

the E a rly and M id d le F o rm a tiv e eras, w hen

1840s. M a n y cenotes th a t served as foci o f

stone celts played an im p o rtan t role in O lm ec ritu a l and b e lie f, ground and polished celts o f fine ja d e ite w ere freq u e n tly placed in caches. In m any instances, these ja d e ite celts are incised w ith fine designs, and associated iconography suggests th a t they m ay have sym bolized ears o f M AIZE. A lthough this m ay be p a rtly due to th e ir form and verd a n t color, the association o f celts w ith a g ricu ltu re and m aize m ay also d erive from th e ir use as axe blades. D u rin g the F o rm ative p eriod, the im portance o f m aize and farm in g g rew explosively, and farm ers depended upon ground stone axes for clearing forests for plan tin g . A sim ilar situation p revailed in N eo lith ic Europe, w h ere - du rin g the in itia l period o f farm in g and forest clearing - ground stone celts took on a significance fa r beyond th a t o f sim ple tools. T h e m any celt represen­ tations in N eo lith ic a rt together w ith actual exam ples in precious stone reveal th a t they also w e re h eld in g reat reverence. T h e Olm ecs deposited and b u ried vast pavem ents o f celts a t L a V e n ta , p a rt o f a ritu a l whose m eaning has never been d eterm in ed . Im ages o f O lm ec deities, such as the WERE JAGUAR o f the K unz A xe, w e re som etim es form ed as celts them selves, and th e K unz Axe d e ity clasps a celt in his hands. T h e L a te Preclassic and Classic Zapotees and M a y a also m ade and used celts. B oth M a y a and Zapotee nobles w ore h ead-andc elt assemblages, typ ically w ith th ree thin celts dangling from a large head ornam ent, and exam ples have been found in M a y a and Zapotee tombs.

w orship w e re d ed icated to th e

CHACS,

the

M a y a R A IN gods. T h e Sacred C en o te a t C h ich en Itz á m ay have been th e single m ost im p o rta n t d esti­ nation fo r p ilg rim s in p re -C o n q u e st Y ucatán. As C lem en cy Coggins has suggested, the g re at round surface o f W A T E R m ay have been p erceived as a g ia n t M IR R O R fo r D iv iN A T iO N and auguring. F o r generations, offerings w e re h u rled in to the w a te r, in clu d in g JADES, gold disks and hum ans. T h e re is no evidence th a t virgins in p a rtic u la r w e re selected as cenote offerings, b u t m uch o f the ske letal m a te ria l recovered a t the C h ich en cenote was o f p re-pubescent boys and girls. A ccording to ethnohistorical accounts, some cenote victim s a p p a re n tly flo ated up fro m the w e ll a liv e , w ith auguries g arnered u n d er w a te r. In 1536, d u rin g a p erio d in w h ich the Spanish w ith d re w from Y u catán , th e ru le r o f the X iu fa m ily , A h D zu n X iu , sought to appease th e M a y a gods by m aking a p ilg rim ­ age to th e Sacred C en o te a t C hichen Itz á . H e and his entourage w e re g u aran teed safe passage through Cocom te rrito ry , w h e re they w o u ld need to pass en ro u te to C hichen. R em em bering old grievances, h o w ever, the Cocoms set upon th e ir visitors a t a celeb rato ry ban q u et, slaughtering them a ll. N o offerings w e re m ade to the cenote, c iv il w a r ensued, and the Spanish re tu rn e d in 1540 to com plete th e ir conquest o f Y ucatán. cerem onial b a r C erem o n ial bars a re staffs h eld by M a y a ru lers, g en erally across the body in both arm s. T h e y w e re fre q u e n tly


59

CHAC

used on the occasions o f period en d in gs (s e e CALENDAR). In its m ost con ven tion al form , a cerem onial bar en d s in tw o op en SERPENT m ouths, from w h ich e m erg e d eities, including God K (se e scHELLHAS coDs), CHAC, th e Jaguar God o f the U nderw orld (seejACUARCODs), and God N, am ong others. T h e body o f th e bar may b e com posed o f crossed ban ds, the M A T m otif, a SKY BAND, BLOODLETTING knots, or other motifs. T h e bar m ay w ell sym b olize th e SKY itself, as if to sh ow that the ruler holds the sky in his arms. T h e cerem on ial bar sym bolizes the role th e M aya ruler plays in supporting th e cosm os and nurturing the gods. Found on the earliest d ated M a y a stela w ith archaeological context - T ik a l Stela 29 w ith a date o f AD 292 - the cerem onial b ar persists as an em blem o f ru lersh ip and d ivin e sanction u n til the end o f Classic tim es. A b lack-p ain ted M a y a lord in a b ird costum e bears one in the T e rm in a l Classic paintings a t C acaxtla, T laxcala. T h e cerem onial bar m ay have evolved from O lm ec prototypes. E a rly M a y a depictions o f the cerem onial bar are sinew y and snake-like, perhaps because o f the hom ophony b etw een sky and snake in M a y a n languages, w h ile la te r cerem onial bars are depicted as rig id objects.

The Kunz Axe, a personified jadeite celt, Middle Formative Olmec, originally owned by the famed gemologist Frederick Kunz. Weighing over 15 lb (7 kg), it is among the largest carved jades known for Mesoamerica.

C hac T h e M a y a god o f RAIN and LIG H TN IN G , C hac is one o f the longest continuously w o r­ shipped gods o f ancient M esoam erica. F irs t know n from the Protoclassic M a y a sites, C hac continues to be w orshipped among M a y a peoples to this day. Iza p a Stela 1 depicts C hac fishing w ith a n et and carrying a creel upon his back; sim ilar scenes o f him fishing are know n from the la te r Classic period. D u rin g the Classic period, he m ay be recognized by his catñsh-like w hiskers, b lu n t re p tilia n snout, and body scales. In a dd itio n , he fre q u e n tly has a p ro m in en t bound shank o f h a ir and a spondylus shell earpiece. T h e Postclassic form o f C hac in M a y a codices g en erally appears m ore hum an than his Classic antecedent. W h ile this la te r Chac, designated God B by Paul Schellhas, lacks the serpentine body scales, his most striking tra it is a long, pendulous nose w hich, although grotesque, appears m ore hum an than rep ­ tilia n . In Classic and Postclassic M a y a scenes, *C h a c often w ields his lig h tn in g w eapons, som etim es a h afted stone axe or a SERPENT, a w idespread m etaphor fo r lig h tn in g in M esoam erica and the A m erican Southw est.

Protoclassic representations of Chac: a, Izapa Stela 1; b, Kaminaljuyú Stela 4; c, El Baúl Stela 1; cf, carved stone vase; e, incised limestone disk; stucco sculpture, Uaxactún.


CHACMOOL Flam es o r torches o fte n a llu d e to th e Sery

im p o rta n t a ttrib u te is th e p a ir o f one o r tw o

n atu re o f C h ac s lig h tn in g . Because C hac presides o ver WATER and ra in

short H a c k lines ru n n in g v e rtic a lly dow n h er lo w e r cheeks.

ábe

aVso

W A TER.

as w e ll as lig h tn in g , h e com m only appears in stream s o f fa llin g w a te r o r w a te r-H lle d

C hicom ecoatl In h ig h lan d M e x ic o , both gods

CENOTES, and serves as a p atro n o f a g ric u ltu re .

and hum ans com m only took nam es d erived

C o lo n ial and contem porary M a y a m ythology

fro m the 2 60 -d a y CALENDAR. T h e nam e C h ic­

credits C hac w ith b reakin g open a g re a t

o m ecoatl, or 7 S erp en t, is an exam ple o f such

rock containing th e o rig in a l life -g iv in g

M A IZ E .

a c ale n d rica l nam e. C hicom ecoatl is an A ztec

Scenes in m onum ental a rt and p o tte ry re ve al

goddess o f food and produce, especially

th a t this m yth w as present am ong th e Classic

In A zte c a rt, she appears w ith a ttrib u te s o f

M a y a over 1000 years ago. 5 ee a/so cocijo;

C H A L C H IU H T L IC U E ,

M A IZ E .

in c lu d in g th e short, v e rtic a l

fa c ia l lines and headdress. H o w e v e r, she can

S C H E L LH A S C O D S ; TLAJLOC.

u su ally be distinguished b y ears o f m aize chacm ool A

term

coined

by

th e

19th

c.

c arried e ith e r in h e r hands or on h e r back.

explorer Augustus L e Plongeon, cAacmooV lite ra lly m eans red or g re at ja g u a r p a w in Yucatec M a y a n , b u t L e Plongeon used the

C hicom oztoc L ite ra lly

" th e

seven caves,"

this w as a legendary m ountain p erfo rated by

th ree-d im en sio nal,

a single cave or by seven caves, and was

reclining figures found atop the T E M P L E S a t C hichen Itz á . C h ara cteristic ally, the head o f

considered a sacred p lace by the A ztecs and m ost o th e r N ah u a tl-s p e ak in g people o f

a cAacm oo/ is turned 90 degrees fro m the fro n t o f the body, and the figure supports

C e n tra ! M ex ico a t th e tim e o f th e C onquest.

h im self on his elbow s. T h e bowls or disks held on the chests o f cAacmoo/s w e re recep­ tacles fo r offerings; in one A ztec exam ple, the vessel held by the reclin in g figure is specifically a C U A U H X IC A L U , or receptacle fo r the HEARTS o f sacrificial victim s. CAacmoo/s m ay sym bolize fa lle n w arriors w ho d e liv e r

o f o rig in fro m w h ich m an kin d em erg ed ; the

w ord

to

describe

the

offerings to the gods. K now n from T e rm in a l Classic tim es on through the Spanish Conquest, cAaemooTs have been found across M esoam erica, fro m E l Salvador to M ichoacán, although m ost o f the know n exam ples come from C hichen Itz á or T u la . M a n y w e re set in association w ith TH R O N E S or sacrificial stones. C halchiuhtlicue or She o f the Jade S kirt is the C e n tra l M exican goddess o f lakes and stream s. Patron o f the day Serpent, she also presides over the TRECENA o f 1 Reed. In the N a h u a tl m yth o f the F IV E SUNS, she is the reg en t o f N ah u i A tl, or 4 W a te r, the previous w o rld destroyed by Hooding. T h e w a te ry n atu re o f the hum an w om b thus ensures th a t C h alchiuhtlicue plays an im p o rtan t p a rt in C e n tra l M exican b irth cerem onies, p artic u ­ la rly B A P T IS M . In codical representations o f C h alch iu h tlicu e, a p a ir o f m ale and fem ale infants m ay be seen in a stream issuing from the goddess. Q u ite clearly, these scenes illu s tra te C h alch iu h tlicu e as a goddess o f B IR T H . In the codices, C h alch iu h tlicu e usually w ears a JADE ornam ented skirt. A n especially

F o r m any groups, C hicom oztoc w as th e place Aztecs b eliev ed th a t th e y had sojourned th e re some tim e a fte r th e ir in itia l d e p a rtu re fro m the leg en d ary A2TLA N. In th e m id -1 5 th c., M otecu h zo m a I sent 60 w ise m en to seek out C hicom oztoc, to le a rn m ore a bo u t M o te cuhzom a's ancestors, and to Hnd o u t if the m o ther o f H u iT z iL O P O C H T L i w as s till a liv e . A t the tim e o f th e C onquest, m ost M a y a peoples o f h ig h lan d G u a te m a la also recog­ nized a u th o rity issued by a p lace th a t the Q uiché called T u la n Z u yu a , or "seven caves." In the P O P O L v u H the trib a l lineag e heads jo u rn e y to T u la n Z u yu a to receive th e ir gods; T O H i L , fo r exam ple, w as loaded in to the pack o f B alam Q u itze to be carried back hom e. In 1971, d u rin g excavations to in s ta ll sound and lig h tin g eq u ip m en t a t T E O T iH U A C A N , a C A V E was found u n d er th e P y ra m id o f the Sun. T h e cave featu res several sm all cham bers, alm ost in a c lo v e r-le a f a rran g em en t, sim ilar to the ra d ia tin g caves d ep icted in the p ictu re o f Chicom oztoc in th e H is to ria To/feca-C A icA im eca, and w as used as a re tre a t fo r ritu a l. Caves have been found a t o th e r an cien t sites, and a num ber m ay have been reg ard ed a t one tim e as a Chicom oztoc. chocolate

s e e CACAO

C ihuacoat! L ite ra lly "w om an-snake," C ih u acoatl is one o f a num ber o f re la te d m other and E A R T H goddesses w orshipped in Postclassic


61

CIHUATETEO

C entra! M exico. C ih u aco ati overlaps w ith Teteoinnan, T o c i, TLAZOLTEOTL, and perhaps most closely, iL A M A T E c u H T L i. She is one o f the goddesses o f m id w ife ry , and through th a t association, o f the swEATBATH as weH. She freq u ently has a w a rlik e aspect and m ay

Chacmool, Tula, Early Postclassic period.

bear spears and a shield. M id w iv e s exhorted wom en to call out to h e r in c h ild b irth and to be as w arriors in the v io le n t expelling o f the child from the w om b. A lthough fre q u e n tly depicted as a skeletal hag, she can also overlap w ith x o c H iQ U E T Z A L , a young and b ea u tifu l goddess. In the addresses o f m id w ives, C ihuacoati is alw ays paired w ith Q u ila z tli. According to the song o f C ih u aco ati in Sahagun, she was the p ro tecto r o f the C halm eca and the patron o f C ulhuacan. CTbuacoat/ w as also the title borne by a secondary ru le r in the A ztec c ap ital o f T en o c h titla n . U n lik e the g re at TLA TO ANi, or speaker, the cihuacoaf/ handled in te rn a l affairs in the city. In the 15th c., T la ca ele l served as cfhuacoaf/ u nder fou r sequential foams: M otecuhzom a the E ld e r, A xayacatl, T izo c, and A h u itzo tl; he com m anded the arm y, d irected SACRIFICES, and served as senior counselor to the suprem e ru le r. In the title crhuacoaf/ w e Rnd em bodied the very n atu re o f d u a lity th a t pervades the A ztec w o rld -v ie w : m ale versus fem ale and in tern a l versus external. C ih u atete o T h e Aztecs b elieved th a t tw o groups o f supernaturals accom panied the SUN on its passage from east to w est. In the east, souls o f w arrio rs w ho died in com bat exhorted and accom panied the sun as it rose to m idday ze n ith . In the corresponding w estern sky (th e place o f solar descent) w ere the C ih u ateteo, or W om en Gods. T h e C ih u ateteo w e re fem ale w arrio rs, the m ocm agueĂ­zgue, w om en w ho died in c h ild b irth . T h e Aztecs likened the act o f BIRTH to th a t o f obtaining a CAPTIVE in w a r, w om en w ho d ied in the a tte m p t w e re v a lia n t w arrio rs slain in b a ttle . A ztec w arrio rs fought vigorously over the bodily rem ains o f m ocjuaquefzgue, w hich w e re kep t as talism ans to ensure b ra ve ry and success in b a ttle . N o b enevolent m others, the C ih u ateteo w reaked havoc, and it was b elieved th a t they haunted ^ CROSSROADS a t NiCHT to steal child ren and to cause seizures and insanity. In ad d itio n , these nig h t dem ons could seduce m en and cause them to com m it a d u lte ry and other sexual transgressions.

Chicomoztoc, the seven caves of emergence, Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca, 16th c. Centra! Mexico.


eg

CINNABAR AND HEMATITE P rob ab le form s o f the C ih u a te te o ap p e ar

y e llo w body colo ratio n . A long w ith the fre ­

in the B orgia and V aticanus B codices, corres­

q u e n t presence o f m aize in his headdress,

ponding to the days 1 M a z a tl, 1 Q u ia h u itl, 1

one o f his m ost characteristic traits is the

O zo m a tli, 1 C a lli, and I C u a u h tli. As w e ll as

jogged b lack lin e passing dow n the brow ,

being the days on w hich th e five w estern

across th e cheek, and then dow n again to the

TRECENAS begin, these om inous days m arked

base o f the ja w . P recisely the sam e fac ial

the descent o f the C ih u a te te o dem ons to the

m arkin g com m only appears w ith the L a te

e a rth . A group o f A ztec stone sculptures o f

Postclassic M a y a

M A IZ E C O D .

kneeling w om en w ith s keletalized faces and talo n ed hands have also been id e n tifie d as

cloth C lo th had in trin s ic valu e in ancient

C ih u atete o . L ik e the w om en illu s tra te d in

M eso am erica, and m any aspects o f its m an ­

the B orgia and Vaticanus B passages, these

u fa c tu re and

figures are also la b ele d w ith the days nam ing

associations. A m ong the

the five w estern irecenas.

peoples o f C e n tra l M e x ic o , x o c H iQ U E T Z A L

use had p a rtic u la r religious N ah u a tl-s p e ak in g TLAZO LTEO TL

and

w e re patrons o f w eavers, and

cinnabar and h em atite C in n ab ar and hem a­

in survivin g depictions, T la zo lte o tl fre q u e n tly

tite are n atu rally occurring m in eral ores. T h e y

w ears spools o f spun cotton in h e r h a ir. In

are both a b rillia n t, lasting red color and w e re

the VEMTENA o f O c h p a n iztli, the im personator

app lied to ritu a l objects throughout ancien t

of

M esoam erica. H e m a tite , or iron ore, occurs in diverse

ritu a l sacrifice. In one A zte c h ym n, X o c h iq u etzal is said to

geological

com e fro m

configurations

of

sedim entary

rocks; its most desirable form was "sp ec u la r," a sparkling, crystalline h em atite form ed by masses o f com pact p latelets. I t was often m ixed w ith w h ite stucco to m ake red stucco p ain t, w ith w hich, for exam ple, the tem ples and palaces o f P alenque w ere p ain ted . T h in plates o f crystalline h em atite could also be assem bled to form MIRRORS and mosaics. C in n ab a r, a red m ercuric su!6de and the ore from w hich m ercury (H g ) is extracted, is m ined today in northern M exico. In geological term s, how ever, it occurs in any volcanic environm ent, and so m ay have been ava ila b le a t a num ber o f sites in M exico and G u a te ­ m ala. I t is a soft red ore also know n as "n a tive v e rm ilio n ," and som etim es yields m ercury n atu ra lly . G e n era lly , though, in ord er to pro­ duce m ercury, the ore m ust be h eated and the fum es then condensed. A t C opan, K am in alju yu , and sites in B elize, liq u id m ercury has been recovered archaeologically. M o re typ ically, h ow ever, the ore its e lf was used. F ro m O lm ec tim es onw ard, cinnabar was rubbed in to ritu a l objects. T h e skeletal rem ains o f m any M a y a royal burials reveal th a t the bodies w e re lib e ra lly coated w ith cinnabar a fte r D E A T H . C in te o tl Also know n as C enteotl, this d eity is the m asculine C e n tra l M exican god o f M A IZ E , em f/i (Z e a m ays). According to the F lo re n tin e Codex, C in te o tl is the son o f the aged earth goddess Toci, O u r G ran d m o th er. In the codi­ ces, he is p o rtrayed as a young m an w ith

TO C!

w as forced to w e av e as p a rt o f the

TAM O A N CH AN ,

a leg en d ary place

th a t m ay lie in the rich tro p ical G u lf C oast or M a y a region. O n e o f T la zo lte o tl's nam es is Ix cu in a , a H u astec nam e fro m the G u lf C oast. Since m uch P reh isp an ic C O T T O N w as c u ltiv a te d along th e G u lf C oast, these patrons o f w eavin g m ay have been coastal goddesses b efo re they w e re in co rp o rated in to th e A ztec pantheon. A m ong the M a y a , the old goddess nam ed as C hac C h e l in th e D resd en C odex is also a p atro n o f w eavers. U nspun cotton was m ade in to th rea d by seated w om en w ho p u lle d dow n th e fibers resting on th e ir heads or h eld loose on th e ir shoulders, g ivin g them a tw is t w ith one hand and then p u llin g o u t th e th re a d w ith the other. O nce spun, cotton th rea d - o r occasion­ a lly MACUEY fib e r - was w oven on backstrap looms in to long strips o f cloth, fre q u e n tly w ith elab o rate designs, some o f w h ich can be seen in the B onam pak m urals o r the Codex M ag liab ech ian o . H an d -lo o m ed cloth was alm ost never cut, b u t in scenes o f M a y a SACRIFICE and in depictions o f CAPTIVES, rip p ed , shredded, or punched-out clo th is som etim es depicted as a visual m etap h or o f the c uttin g and b leed in g d u rin g sacrifice. Because the n ativ e cotton p la n t (Co&syp iu m h irsu ftn n ) o f M eso am erica w ill not grow a t the high a ltitu d e o f th e V a lle y o f M exico, the Aztecs dem anded cotton clo th fro m m ost o f the 371 tow ns th a t p aid them trib u te ; according to the Codex M e n d o za , it was the single m ost im p o rta n t ite m o f trib u te . C otton m antles functioned as a m eans o f com mon


63

COATEPANTLI

exchange in a society w ith o u t coinage. Sahagun said th a t one large m an tle equaled the value o f one canoe; 30 larg e cotton m antles equaled a slave, and 40 w e re w o rth a slave who could sing and dance! .See a/so COSTUME.

Cloud Serpent see MexcoATL clowns R itu a l clowns are w id e ly know n in both C o lo n ial and contem porary M eso am erica. L ik e the m odern Pueblo clowns o f the A m erican Southw est, these perform ers pro­ vide both e n te rta in m e n t and b itin g social com m entary. T h e fo llo w in g is a Spanish description o f the e a rly C olonial Yucatec clowns know n as ba/dzam : ' T h e y are clever in th e ir m ottoes and jokes, th a t they say to th e ir m ayor and judges: if they are too rigor­ ous, am bitious, or greedy, they po rtray the events th a t occurred and even w h a t concerns the ofhcial's ow n duties, these are said in fro n t o f h im , and at tim es w ith a single w o rd /* B ut along w ith being am using social com­ m entators, the n ative ritu a l clowns tend to be endow ed w ith considerable supernatural pow er. D u rin g th e ir perform ances, the clowns a re freq u e n tly b elieved to become p a rtic u la r gods, dem ons, and other super­ n atu ra l e ntities. In a dd itio n , through role reversal and inversion, they often seem to em body the chaotic tim eless powers from before creation. In M esoam erica, sacred clowns com m only appear a t critica l junctures du rin g rites o f passage, such as ACCESSION to ofhce, or new year celebrations and other calendrical events. R itu a l clowns a re com m only depicted in Classic M a y a a rt. R ath er than appearing in m onum ental sculpture, they are usually ren dered on sm all p o rtab le objects, such as Hgurines or vases. T h e y tend to be aged and grotesquely ugly characters, often w ith a nim al attrib u te s . In a dd itio n , they often app ear dancing w ith FANS and rattles - signs o f perform ers. S till e a rlie r ritu a l clowns app ear in the ceram ic a rt o f C olim a. D a tin g to the Protoclassic period (100 B C -A D 300), these W est M exican sculptures p o rtray rotund ith y p h a llic characters, anim al-m asked dancers, and o th er probable clowns. .See a/so FAT GOD.

co atep an tli T h e coafepanfA was a com m on a rch itectu ral fe a tu re o f L a te Postclassic C en ­ tra! M exico. A w a ll o f SERPENTS, the coafepanfb

Cinteotl, the Central Mexican god of maize, Codex Borgia, p. 14, Late Postclassic period.

A Late Classic Maya clown with dancing fan and rattlh, detail from a Maya vase.


(W

COATEPEC was used to dem arcate sacred enc!osures w ith in a cerem onia! precinct. A t T e n o c h tit-

D u rá n , the Aztecs p erfo rm ed a festival in honor o f C o atlic u e a t C oatepec.

!an, such a serpent w a ll fram e d p a rt o f the

D ep ictio n s o f C o atlic u e a re fa irly ra re in

T em p !o M a y o r, and some o f th e m onum enta!

A ztec a rt. T h e m ost fam ous rep resen tatio n ,

xiUHCOATL serpent heads discovered

and one o f th e m ost p o w e rfu l A ztec sculp­

th e re

w e re probab!y parts o f coafepaniZ/ w alls. A n

tures, is the colossal figure discovered in 1790

in tac t coatepantZi o f X iu h co atl serpents can

alongside th e cath ed ra! o f M exico . Standing

be seen surrounding a tw in p yram id a t the

on huge taloned fe e t, C o atlic u e w ears a dress

site o f T en ayu ca. T h e c o a fe p a n fi/is not know n a t the Classic

o f w oven rattlesnakes. H e r pendulous breasts

site o f TEOTiHUACAN, and m ay have been first

lace o f severed HEARTS and hands. W rith in g coral snakes ap p e ar in place o f h e r head and

devised a t the E a r!y Postclassic site o f T u la , H id alg o (see

T O L L A N ),

w h ere a c o a fe p a n t//

Hanks P yram id B , one o f the m ajor structures.

a re p a rtia lly obscured b eh ind a grisly neck­

hands, d en o tin g gouts o f

BLOOD

gushing from

h er severed th ro a t and w rists. T h e tw o g re at

T h e w a ll o f this c o afep an t/i displays p a rtly

snakes em erg in g fro m

skeletalized hum an Hgures being devoured

a n o th er, c rea tin g a face o f liv in g blood. A m onum ent o f cosmic te rro r, C o atlic u e stands

by rattlesnakes. T h e serpents have Barnes

h e r neck face one

th a t they are fire serpents, th a t is, form s o f

vio late d and m u tila te d , h e r w ounds m u tely dem an d in g revenge against h er enem ies.

the X iuhcoatl.

A ltho u g h

em anating from th e ir bodies and it is p ro b ab le

a

stupendous

m o num ent,

this

C o atlicu e scu lp tu re is n o t u n iq u e; tw o very C oatcpec or Serpent M o u n tain was one o f

s im ila r b u t p o o rly p reserved exam ples have

the m ore im p o rtan t places o f A ztec m yth o l­ ogy. This sacred MOUNTAIN constituted the b irth p lace o f n u rrziL O P O C H T L i, and it was th ere that the n ew ly born god defeated

also been discovered in M exico C ity .

coYOLXAUHQm and h er 400 brothers, the C entzon H u itzn a h u a. A lthough the actual Coa tepee m ountain is located close to the T o ltec site o f T u la , H id alg o (see T O LLA N ), this sacred place was rep licated in the h e a rt o f the A ztec cap ital o f T en o c h titla n , w h ere it was long thought by archaeologists th a t the H u itzilo p o ch tli side o f the g reat dual T em p lo M a y o r represented M o u n t Coatepec. S triking physical corroboration o f this b e lie f occurred in 1978 w ith the discovery o f the dism em b­ ered Coyolxauhqui sculpture a t the base o f the H u itzilo p o ch tli tem ple stairw ay. This sculpture corresponds p erfe ctly to the A ztec m yth w hich describes the severed rem ains o f Coyolxauhqui tum bling to the base o f M o u n t C oatepec. C oatlicue According to A ztec b e lie f, the m o ther o f H u rrziL O P O C H T L i was C oatlicue, She o f the Serpent S kirt. In A ztec accounts, C o at­ licue was m iraculously im pregnated w ith a b a ll o f dow n w h ile sw eeping a t COATEPEC. H e r child ren , COYOLXAUHQUI and the C entzon H u itzn a h u a, w e re furious a t h er condition and decided to k ill h er. A t the m om ent o f h er DEATH, C oatlicue gave BIRTH to the fu lly arm ed H u itzilo p o c h tli, w ho then d efeated and slew C oyolxauhqui and the C entzon H u itzn a h u a. According to a 16th c. account by D iego

C ocijo In Z ap o tee, th e term cocyo signifies both

L iC H T N iN C

and the god o f lig h tn in g and

RAIN. T h e god C ocijo is com m only found on Zapotee ceram ic urns fro m the M id d le F o rm a tiv e p erio d o f M o n te A lb á n i to the end o f the L a te C lassic p erio d . L ik e the Classic M a y a C H AC , C ocijo usually has a zoom orphic face w ith a th ick , b lu n t snout. O n e o f his oldest and m ost consistent charac­ teristics is his long b ifu rc a te d serp entin e tongue. A lth o u g h not occurring w ith the M a y a ra in god C hac, s im ila r tongues are found w ith ja g u a r form s o f the ra in god TLALOC a t Classic perio d TEOTiH U A C A N . Q u ite fre q u e n tly , C ocijo appears w ith a p a rtic u la r sign - Zap o tee G ly p h C - in his headdress. In the Postclassic M ix te e codices, a s im ila r g lyph serves as a sign fo r th e day nam e W a te r. I t is p ro b ab le, th e re fo re , th a t Z apotee G lyp h C represents th e day nam e W a te r, an a p p ro p riate em b lem fo r the god o f ra in and lig h tn in g . T h e Postclassic Zapotees term e d the fo u r 65-day divisions o f the 260-d ay calen d ar "C o cijo s," suggesting th a t th e re w e re fou r Cocijos o rie n te d to th e w o rld DIRECTIONS. BLOODLETTING and o th er religious observations w e re p erfo rm ed to the Cocijos o f the fou r calen d rical periods. Passages in the C e n tra l M e x ica n Vaticanus B and B orgia codices also illu s tra te this fo u r fo ld division o f th e 260day calendar. T h e re , h o w ever, T la lo c - ra th e r


65

COLORS

than Cocijo - is p o rtrayed in each o f the fo u r divisions. codex T h e term codex g en e rally refers to a rare m anuscript. In M esoam erican research, it is freq u e n tly used to denote n ativ e screenfold books form ed o f strips o f pounded b ark PAPER or DEER h id e p ain ted on both sides w ith a fine coating o f w h ite lim e gesso. These

The serpent wall, or coatepantli, surrounding the Aztec Templo Mayor, Codex Durán, 16th c. Central Mexico.

strips w e re c are fu lly folded in to equal w idths, w ith each fold creating tw o pages on opposite sides o f the m anuscript. O nce fold ed , in tric a te scenes w e re first c a re fu lly o u tlin ed and then freq u e n tly fille d in w ith b rillia n t colors. Both sides o f the m anuscript w e re usually p ain ted , w ith the pages tending to run le ft to rig h t across one side, and then retu rn in g le ft to rig h t across the other. Scenes on Classic M a y a vases and the archaeological discovery o f stucco rem ains o f actual books reveal th at screenfold codices w e re fu lly present am ong the Classic M a y a . H o w e v e r, a ll the in tac t screenfolds th a t have survived d ate to the Postclassic and early C o lo n ial periods. These contain a w e alth of in fo rm atio n about gods and ritu als, m ythol­ ogy, history, flo ra, fauna, and even trad e and

Giant statue of Coatlicue, She of the Serpent Skirt, mother of Huitzilopochtli, Late Postclassic Aztec. Her head is composed of blood serpents pouring from her severed throat.

trib u te . U n fo rtu n a te ly , due to centuries o f intolerance and neglect, only a sm all portion o f these books survive to this day. Some 25 Postclassic and e a rly C olonial screenfold codices a re know n, w ith 18 o f these being in pure p re-C onquest style. colors In M esoam erican cosmology, colors a re fre q u e n tly associated w ith p artic u la r DIRECTIONS. T h e id e n tific atio n o f colors w ith directions is m ost fu lly docum ented among the an cien t M a y a , w ho had specific glyphs fo r the colors red , w h ite , black, yellow , and green. In the Yucatec M a y a codices, these colors are associated w ith east, north, w est, south and c en ter, respectively. M on u m en tal texts describing the 819-day cycle (see CALEN­ re ve al th a t the Classic M a y a also id e n t­ ifie d red , w h ite , black, and y ello w w ith the DAR)

sam e directions. In C o lo n ial accounts from C e n tra l M exico, th e re is fre q u e n t m ention o f fo u r basic colors. H o w e v e r, not only are the colors ra re ly o ri­ ented w ith regard to specific directions, bu t th e re is also considerable varia tio n as to w hich are the fo u r p rim a ry colors. According *to one source, the d ire ctio n al colors w ere g reen, b lu e, red and y ello w . H o w e v e r, o th e r accounts suggest th a t the fou r card in al colors

Cocijo, the Zapotee god of rain and lightning, ceramic urn, Classic period.


(M

COLOSSAL HEADS w e re the same as those o f th e M a y a . M o re ­

transgression. F ra y Burgoa recorded th a t d u r­

over, lik e th e M a y a , C e n tra ! M exicans ap p e ar

in g the m id -1 7 th c. the Zapotees o f Oaxaca

to have id e n tih e d w h ite w ith the north and

also p erfo rm e d BLOODLETTING in conjunction w ith a confession to a n a tiv e p riest. T h e blood

y ello w w ith th e south.

was d rip p e d upon strips o f MAize husk w hich colossal heads A fte r 1200

B e,

the Ohnecs

w rought colossal heads from huge boulders

w e re taken and presented by the priest to a stone id o l.

o f basait from the T u x tla M o u n tain s th a t they m ust have Boated on baisa rafts along th e slow -m oving rivers o f the G u lf C oast. n e ith e r

contem porary

texts

nor

c o r o n a tio n

w e

A CC ESSIO N

W ith

re le v a n t

ethnohistory, the heads have been the subject

c o s tu m e

M eso am erican

costum e

g en e rally

encodes a w id e v a rie ty o f in fo rm atio n in the

o f specu!ation, and they have been id e n tifie d

case o f bo th hum an and d iv in e protagonists.

a t one tim e or ano th er as b allp la ye rs, gods,

A m ong the A ztecs, fo r exam p le, costum e and

or hum ans. M ost scholars now b eliev e th a t

facia!

the heads com m em orate actual rulers. T h e

re la te d d eities fro m one a n o th er m ore effec­

rep resen tatio n s

tiv e ly

m ent; a t the very ¡east d im p led depressions

C ostum e in dicates th e status and ro le o f a

w e re ground into them . R ecent d etective w e re

given in d iv id u a l; even today in M exico and G u a te m ala, costum e is the key to e th n ic ity ,

recarved into co!ossa! heads. A ccording to such a theory, the place o f seated p o w er

com m on te x tile designs, styles o f dress, and

THHONES

o th e r

physical

closely

m a jo rity o f them suffered some ritu a l d eface­

w ork has proposed th a t some

than

d iffe re n tia te

characteristics.

and v illa g e id e n tity is re in fo rc ed

through

w ould be extinguished and converted to a

headgear. A t M itla , the facades o f T e rm in a l

m ore n eu tral hum an m em orial. A t L a V en ta, four colossal heads w e re set

Classic palaces b ea r various g eom etric p a t­ terns and designs, perhaps references to u n i­

as if to guard the cerem onial core o f the site, three to the south and one to the north, a ll w ith th e ir backs to the arch itectu re. W ith th e ir stern, solemn expressions, such heads m ay have em bodied livin g rulers, and they w ould have been seen from a distance. A fte r the death o f a ru le r, the colossal heads m ay have been the focus o f ancestor w orship.

fication o f reg io n al id e n tity , both Zap o tee and M ix te e , through p u b lic display o f costum e

c o m p l e t i o n s ig n

s e e CALENDAR

confession Confession constituted an im ­ p o rtan t form o f ritu a l PURIFICATION. F o r the Yucatec M a y a , confession was p erform ed during the B APTISM o f children. Am ong the M a y a o f Yucatan and A lta V erapaz, con­ fession was com m on a t tim es o f grave illness or approaching D E A T H . According to Tom ás López M e d e l, M a y a com m unities in G u a te ­ m ala perform ed confession by selecting an old w om an as a scapegoat. Forced to h ea r the confessions o f a ll o f the com m unity, this w om an was then stoned. I t was b elieved th a t by h e r death, the w hole tow n was p u rifie d . F o r the Aztecs, T L A Z O L T E O T L was the god­ dess o f confessions. In the com pany o f a calendar p riest, the in d ivid u al w ould confess in fro n t o f an im age o f T la zo lteo tl. A long w ith the confession, the p e n ite n t in d iv id u al passed pieces o f grass through the tongue or phallus, each piece corresponding to a p a rtic u la r

and cloth. M e n and w om en, both hum an and d iv in e , w o re d istin ct garm ents. Some A ztec sculp­ tures w e re m ean t to be dressed; n ow , w ith o u t th e ir costum es, th e ir id e n tity as specific d eities is lost. M eso am erican garm ents w e re g en e rally fashioned by d rap in g C L O T H around the body or sew ing strips o f fa b ric tog eth er b u t ra re ly c u ttin g and ta ilo rin g cloth. Basic a ttire fo r m en was the lo in clo th (th e N a h u a tl m axt/afV); w om en w o re skirts w ith draped blouses (th e N a h u a tl g u ec A g u e m it/a n d M a y a A uipj'/). W a rrio rs and priests donned sleeve­ less jackets (N a h u a tl xico/A). C e n tra l M ex ica n lords a t th e tim e o f th e C onquest w o re the &7znafA, a to g a-like g arm en t the w e arin g o f w hich was governed by s trict sum ptuary law s. T h e m ost prestigious #AnatAs w e re the longest ones w ith the m ost e lab o rate w oven designs; th e ir w e a r was lim ite d to th e u pper classes and to m en w ho had scarred th e ir bodies in b a ttle . T h e im p o rtan ce o f these cloaks is em phasized by th e pages devoted to th e ir m otifs in the C odex M ag liab ech ian o . Com m oners w e re g en e rally restricted to coarse #AnatAs w oven o f MAGUEY fib er. F in e ra im e n t re w ard e d victorious w arrio rs, and the m ore CAPTIVES they took, th e fan c ier the a ttire they w ore.


67

COTTON

T h e headdress is the m ost significant p a rt of any costum e. In depictions in the codices, M ixte e nobles and d eities o ften w e a r th e ir names in th e ir headdresses, as do occasionally M ay a n o b ility. I t was not only hum ans and deities w ho bore insignia on th e ir heads: the affiliations o f TE M P L E S w e re o ften presented

M a y a directional color glyphs derived from the Dresden Codex.

Red (chac), east

by a b illb o a rd -lik e display on th e roofeom b, or even by the shape o f th e roofeom b, resem ­ bling headgear. T h e tem p le to Q U E T Z A L C O A T L in the sacred precinct o f T e n o c h titla n had a conical roof, akin to Q u etzalcoatl's conical headdress. A n um ber o f A ztec goddesses w e ar a headdress th a t looks lik e a tem ple doorw ay, conflating the analogy betw een headdress, d eity , and insignia.

White (zac), north

B)ack (ek), west

A m ong the n o b ility , specific costumes w e re w orn for p a rtic u la r ritu als. D u ra n describes elab o rate costumes d istrib u ted to a ll p a rtic ­ ipants and observers o f A ztec sacrificial rites, including crowns o f feathers, gold arm sheathing, ja g u ar p e lt sandals, fancy m antles and loincloths, and JADE nose plugs. In b a ttle , A ztec w arrio rs dressed as p redatory anim als: EA G LES, JAGUARS, pum as, and coyotes. T h e m antles o f a b rid e and groom w e re tied together to sym bolize th e ir M A R R IA G E . In a ll cultures, b allp layers donned thick padding at the w aist, knee, and elbow . O nce Cortés began his m arch to T en o c h titla n , M o te cuhzom a I I , according to some sources, sent fou r d e ity costumes to him to see if he w ould don one and reveal h im self to be a god. Am ong the M a y a , a num ber o f specific ritu al costumes have been recognized. A beaded cape and skirt, w o rn w ith an open spondylus shell w aist ornam ent th a t m ay sym bolize the fem ale w om b, is a costume w orn by noble w om en, b u t it also id entifies the M A IZ E G O D ; m en don the costum e to em body the god and his fe rtility . In the depictions o f ACCESSIO N to ofRce a t Piedras N egras, kings w e ar sim ple a ttire , w ith a headdress that sprouts MAIZE and m aize foliage, as if to rein fo rce connections to com m unity and a g ricu ltu re ; w h en those sam e kings conduct b attles outside the im m ed iate com m unity, b u t against o th e r M a y a , they w e ar a costum e based on foreig n m otifs from T E O T IH U A C A N . cotton A lthough the cotton used in ancient M esoam erica was g en e rally o f a single species (C<Ms%vu/n A /rsufum ), th e re w e re m any v a r­ ie t ie s distinguished by grow ing cycles and fib er color. W oven cotton functioned

CLOTH

as clothing, b u t was

not only also

an

Yeüow (kan), south

Green (yax), center

Colossal head from L a Venta, Tabasco, M id d le Form ative Olmec. These colossal heads constitute some of the earliest portraiture known for the N ew W orld.

Trib ute sign referring to 400 bales of cotton, M atrícula de Tributos, 16th c. Aztec.


88

COYOLXAUHQUI im p o rta n t a rtic!e o f trib u te . I t served too as religious offerings, as TEMPLE hangings or

th ro w n dow n th e steps o f the H u itxilop o ch th tem p le re p lic a te d th e b a ttle a t C oatepec.

aw nings, as vestm ents fo r god im ages, and as

A side fro m the n ew ly discovered reliefs

w rappings fo r sacred BUNDLES and MORTUARY

fro m the T e m p lo M a y o r, a n o th er m onum en­ ta l C o yolxauhqui sculpture survives. In this

B U N D LE S .

of

case, she is rep resen ted as a lifeless severed

cotton was p rim a rily a fe m a le task, goddesses

head. As in th e case o f the in ta c t disk from

Since

the

p re p a ra tio n

and

w eavin g

as spinners and

th e T e m p lo M a y o r, she displays on h er cheeks

w eavers. In the Yucatec M a y a codices, both

th e m e ta l cqyo/Ii bells fo r w h ich she is nam ed.

the you th fu l Goddess I and the aged Goddess

In a d d itio n , she also w ears the sam e m e ta l y e a r sign e ar ornam ents and c irc u la r elem ents

a re fre q u e n tly p o rtrayed

0 (see scHELLHAs coDs) a re p o rtray ed as w e a ­ is closely

o f eagle dow n in h e r h a ir. M u c h o f the

id e n tih e d w ith w eaving, and w ears a h ead -

costum e and iconography o f C oyolxauhqui

vers. In C e n tra l M exico ,

TLAZO LTEO TL

band o f unspun cotton w ith a p a ir o f cotton

seems to d e riv e fro m C h an tico , goddess o f the

spindles as h er headdress. O n e o f h e r com ­

h ea rth and p atro n o f X ochim ilco. A ltho u g h it

mon epithets was Ixcu in a, a H uastec term

has been

signifying C otton W om an.

represents the M O O N , th e re is no exp lic it evidence fo r this id e n tific a tio n . A ccording to

C oyolxauhqui T h e evil o ld er sister o f H u rrz iLOPOCHTLJ and the C entzon H u itzn a h u a ,

one recen t study, C oyo lxau h q u i m ay a ctu ally

o ften

stated

be a goddess o f the

th a t C oyolxauhqui

M IL K Y W A Y .

C oyolxauhqui was one o f the m ajor goddesses o f A ztec m ythology. Furious over the p reg­ nancy o f C0 ATL!CUE, C oyolxauhqui slew her m other w ith the aid o f h er 400 brothers, the C entzon H u itzn a h u a. T h e dying C oatlicue gave b irth to H u itzilo p o c h tli, w ho, arm ed w ith his xiuHcoATL w eapon, dism em bered Coyolxauhqui and routed the C entzon H u itz ­ nahua a t the h ill o f C O A TE P E C . According to the F lo re n tin e Codex account o f this b a ttle , the severed rem ains o f Coyolxauhqui tum bled to the base o f Coatepec. In 1978, a massive representation o f Coyolxauhqui was discovered a t the base o f the H u itzilo p o ch tli side o f the T em plo M a y o r in Ten o ch ütlan . As in the cited A ztec text, she is depicted w ith h er head and lim bs severed from h er torso, as if tum bling dow n the h ill o f C oatepec. A t least tw o o th er Coyolxauhqui m onum ents w ere found a t the T em plo M a y o r. T h e stucco rem ains o f an e a rlie r nude and dism em bered Coyolxauhqui lay d ire ctly under the stone sculpture. In addition to this stucco sculpture, fragm ents o f another stone C oyolxauhqui disk w ere also discovered. A lthough sim ilar in scale, style, and com position, this frag m en tary sculpture does not appear to represent C oyolxauhqui w ith severed lim bs. N onetheless, it contains an especially im p o rtan t d e ta il, fo r the ta il and segm ented body o f the X iu hco atl can a ctu ally be seen p en etratin g the chest o f C oyol­ xauhqui. This re lie f portrays the m ythic ch a rter fo r the ritu a l o f h e a rt sacrifice th a t was p racticed on a massive scale a t the T em plo M a y o r (see H E A R T S ). Each v ictim

creatio n accounts T h e origins o f the gods, the w o rld , and its in h a b ita n ts fo rm the basis o f M eso am erican m ythology. U n fo rtu n a te ly , our u n derstanding o f n a tiv e crea tio n m yth o ­ logy is only p a rtia l, and is best docum ented fo r C e n tra l M exico and the M a y a region. N onetheless, com m on p attern s can be dis­ cerned. Q u ite fre q u e n tly , the act o f c reatio n begins in darkness w ith th e p rim o rd ia l SEA. T h e Q uiche M a y a P O P O L v u H contains a m ov­ ing description o f this o rig in a l c re a tiv e event. Surrounded by th e s till w aters o f th e sea, the gods T ep e u and G ucum atz engage in dialogue and thus begin th e act o f creatio n . T h ro u gh th e ir speech, the E A R T H and M O U N T A IN S a re raised ou t o f th e W A T E R . A ltho u g h th e PopoV Muh creators place anim als upon the e a rth , these creatures lack the voices and understan d in g to w orship and nourish th e gods. T h e C O D S thus decide to create people. In th e ir Erst a tte m p t, th e y fashion people fro m m ud; b eing soft and w eak, h o w ever, th e p eo p le a re soon des­ troyed. In th e ir second a tte m p t, the gods consult th e d ivin ers X piyacoc and X m ucane, w ho suggest th a t m en be fashioned fro m w ood and w om en fro m rushes. A lthough this n ew race o f people can speak and m u ltip ly , they s till lack u n derstanding o f th e ir w o rld and th e ir m akers, so the gods send dow n a g re at Rood and a ra in o f p itch to destroy them . F ie rc e dem ons, anim als, and th e ir ow n household utensils jo in in the attack. Those people th a t escape becam e the MONKEYS seen today.


69

CREATION ACCOUNTS

F o llow ing the destruction o f the w ood and rush people, T ep eu and G ucum atz decide to fashion hum ans from M A tZ E . B rought by fo u r anim als from the m ountain o f P axil, this m aize is ground in to nine drinks from w hich the first fo u r m en are m ade. B u t although these people o f m aize w orship and nourish the gods, they are too know ledgeable and w ise, too lik e the gods w ho m ade them . F o r this reason, the gods cloud th e ir eyes, lim itin g the vision o f the present hum an race, the people o f corn, to w h a t is im m ed iate and close. F o llo w in g the creation o f the first fou r m en and th e ir w ives, the first d aw ning takes place and some anim als and gods tu rn to stone. In the Popo/ VuA, the destruction o f the w ooden m en and the creation o f the people o f corn is separated by a long and extrem ely im p o rtan t account describing the doings o f tw o sets o f tw ins. T h e older p a ir, H U N H U N A H P U and Vucub H u nah p u , are sum m oned to play b a ll w ith the lords o f the UNDERWORLD, X ib alb a , w ho then d e fe a t and sacrifice the tw ins, placing the head o f H u n H u nah p u in a gourd tree . T his m iraculous head im pregnates an u n d erw o rld m aiden, X quic, w ho escapes to the surface o f the earth . H e re she gives b irth to the second p a ir o f tw ins, the sons of H u n H u n ah p u . K now n as the H e ro T w in s, H u nah p u and X b alanq u e a re g reat m onsterslayers and b allp layers. W h en they in turn a re sum m oned to p lay b all in the U n d erw o rld , they eve n tu ally d efe at the lords o f X ib alb a and re trie v e the rem ains o f th e ir fa th e r and uncle. T h e p lacem ent o f the H e ro Tw ins episode befo re the creation o f the m aize people is not fortuitous. T h e abundant Classic M a y a scenes illu s tra tin g H u n H u nah p u and his sons H u nah p u and X b alanq u e reveal th a t H u n H u nah p u is a ctu ally the god o f corn. Thus the descent o f H u nah p u and X balanque to rescue th e ir fa th e r also signifies the search for corn, th e m a te ria l from w hich m ankind is m ade. In a num ber o f L a te Classic M a y a

Giant Coyolxauhqui stone, Aztec Tempio Mayor, Tenochtitlan.

vessel scenes, H u n H u n ah p u is flanked by his sons as he rises out o f the earth as grow ing m aize. This Classic episode o f H u n H u nah p u , the ancestor o f people, rising out o f the earth constitutes a form o f the em ergence m yth found w id e ly over M esoam erica and the A m erican Southw est. T h e concept o f m u ltip le creations is found am ong o th er contact period and contem por­ a ry M a y a peoples. A ccording to a 16th c.

Maya creation accounts: Hun Hunahpu, the Tonsured Maize God, rising out of the tortoise earth; spotted Hunahpu at left, and Xbalanque with jaguar skin markings to the right. Scene from the interior of a Late Classic Maya bowl.


70

CREATION ACCOUNTS account from th e C ak ch iq u e l, neighbors o f

strongly

the Q u ich e, p eo p le w e re Erst fashioned o f m ud. F o llo w in g th e ir d estru ctio n , th e p resent

Classic M a y a m ythology, Q u etzalco atl and

resem bling

XOLOTL

race o f m ankind was created fro m ground

the rem ains o f th e people destroyed in the

m aize m ixed w ith th e blood o f ta p ir and

Hood. In o rd e r to o b ta in the precious bones,

descend to the

the

Popo/

UNDER W O R LD

Fu/?

and

to re trie v e

SERPENT. T h e Rood m yth is know n fo r the

th e y tric k th e w ily god o f d ea th , MicTLANTB

C olonia! Yuca tec M a y a , fo r in c e rta in o f the

c u H T L i.

Books o f C h ila m B alam th e re is m en tio n o f

CHAN,

T h e bones a re then taken to

TAM OAN

w h e re th e gods g rin d them lik e com

a race o f in d ivid u als destroyed in th e Rood.

in to a Rne m e al. U pon this ground m eal, the

These accounts also describe the erectio n o f

gods le t th e ir

WORLD TREES fo llo w in g the Rood. A ltho u g h the C o lo n ial Yucatec sources p ro vid e only

o f th e p resent race o f people. A fte r the creation o f people,

tan g en tial references to previous creations,

convene in darkness a t

these a re e xp lic itly recorded in m odern Yuca­

decided th a t in o rd er to crea te th e Hfth sun,

BLOO D,

thus crea tin g th e Resh the gods

T E O T n ru A C A N .

I t is

tec texts, w hich describe th re e d istinct w orlds

N a h u i O llin , one o f th e gods m ust th ro w

and

present

h im s e lf in to a g re a t p yre. T w o v o lu n te e r, the

creation . H ig h ly developed in C e n tra l M exico , this

lo w ly N a n a h u a tzin . T ec u cizte ca tl is frig h t­

races

o f people

b efo re

the

hau g h ty T e c u cizte ca tl and th e diseased and

notion o f m u ltip le creation reaches its highest

ened by the Rames, b u t N a n a h u a tzin b ravely

com plexity in the g reat cosmogonic m yth o f

hurls h im s e lf in to th e p yre and is transform ed

the nvKSUNs. A lthough there is some v ariatio n

in to th e suN. T e c u cizte ca tl follow s to becom e the M O O N . T h e gods then sacriEce them selves

in the know n accounts, the basic p attern is q u ite sim ilar to the Q uiché P opo/ Fuh. W ith the Erst acts o f creation, the creato r couple prepared the w ay for the Erst o f the fou r suns, or w orlds, previous to the present creation. N am ed a fte r the days on w hich they end, the fou r suns usually occur in the follo w in g o rd er, N ah u i O celot! (4 Jaguar), N ah u i E h ecatl (4 W in d ), N ah u i Q u ia h u itl (4 R ain ), and N ah u i A tl (4 W a te r). Each sun is presided over by a d eity and race o f people w ho are e ith e r destroyed o r transform ed into a p a rtic u la r creatu re. TEZCATHPOCA is the god o f the Erst sun, N ah u i O celotl. T h e people o f this w o rld are giants, and a re devoured by JAGUARS. Presided over by the w ind god E H E C A T L , the second sun o f N ah u i E hecatl is destroyed by w in d and its people becom e M O N K E Y S . T h e R A IN and L IG H T N IN G d e ity T L A L O c is th e god o f N ah u i Q u ia h u itl, w hich is consumed by Eery ra in - possibly an allusion to volcanic eru p ­ tion - w h ile its people turn in to B U T T E R F L IE S , Docs, and turkeys. T h e w a te r goddess C H A L C H i uHTLicuE presides over the fo u rth sun, N a h u i A tl; the Rood ending this sun transform s the hum an inhabitants in to Rsh. F o llo w in g the Rood ending the fo u rth sun, Tezcatlipoca and Q U E T Z A L C O A T L raise the hea­ vens by transform ing them selves in to tw o g reat trees. In several accounts, these tw o gods create the earth by slaying a huge earth m onster described e ith e r as a C A IM A N or as the earth d e ity T L A L T E C U H T L i. A lthough the earth is created a t this p o in t, no people in h a b it its surface. In a jo u rn e y

a t T eo tih u ac an

and

fro m

th e ir

rem ains,

sacred B U N D LE S o r f/a g u ú n j/o //i a re fashioned. A n o the r com m on C e n tra l M e x ic a n creation m o tif is the em ergence o f people from the earth. In essence, this differs little fro m the taking o f the bones out o f th e U n d e rw o rld , although in this instance, actual living hum ans em erge out o f the earth . O n e o f the most famous versions o f the em ergence m yth con­ cerns cmcoMOZTOc, the seven CAVES o f em erg­ ence. In the P&sfor/a 7b/feca-C/uc/un?eca account o f this episode, the MOUNTAIN contain­ ing the seven caves was struck open w ith a lightning staff. In an o th e r version o f the em ergence, the Erst people cam e out a fte r the sun shot an a rro w into the House o f M irro rs . O f M ix te e c rea tio n m ythology little is know n in com parison w ith th a t o f the M a y a and peoples o f C e n tra l M exico . O n e b rie f b u t im p o rta n t account derives fro m an e a rly 18th c. w o rk o f F ra y G reg o rio G a rcía. D u rin g the tim e o f darkness, in th e p rim o rd ia l SEA, a creato r couple sharing th e sam e calen d rical ñam e o f 1 D e e r c rea te a m assive stony m o untain upon w h ich they fashion th e ir sum ptuous palace. A t th e peak o f the m oun­ ta in , a g re at copper axe b lad e supports the heavens. T h is creato r couple has tw o m ale ch ild ren , one nam ed W in d o f N in e Snakes, the o th er, W in d o f N in e Caves. T h e e ld er o f th e sons has the p o w er to transform h im s elf in to an E A G L E , w hereas th e younger son can becom e a w inged SER PENT th a t can Ry through


71

CUAUHXICALLI

stone as w e ll as a ir. These tw o sons create a garden Blled w ith fru it trees, FLOWERS, and herbs. F o llo w in g the creation o f the stony m ountain and the brothers and th e ir garden, heaven and earth are fashioned and hum ans are restored to life . A lthough only a tan g en tial reference, the m ention o f hum ans being restored to life strongly suggests the m u ltip le creations and destructions m entioned in M aya and C e n tra l M exican creation accounts. T h e M ix te e creato r couple are re p ­ resented in tw o o f the ancien t M ix te e screenfolds,

the

Codex

Vindobonensis

and

the

Selden R oll, com plete w ith the calendrical nam e o f 1 D e e r. According to a la te 16th c. w o rk o f F ray A ntonio

de

los

Reyes,

the

first

M ixtees

em erged from the cen ter o f the e arth , w h ile la te r gods and rulers w e re born from trees near the sacred tow n o f A poala. In the ancient M ixte e codices, the people em erging from the earth are freq u e n tly depicted as stone m en. This probably refers to an ancient p re ­ daw n era as, am ong the M ixtees and other M esoam erican peoples, gods and legendary figures w ere turned to stone a t the first daw ning. T h e m o tif o f tree b irth , still present in contem porary M ix te e m ythology, is also illu strate d in both the Vindobonensis and Selden codices. .See a/so ANCESTRAL COUPLE. crossroads In n ative M esoam erica, cross­ roads w e re w id e ly regarded as dangerous places in h a b ite d by dem ons and illness. T h e Aztecs b elieved th a t they w ere the favored place o f the fearsom e cmuATETEO, and shrines to these dem onic w om en w ere freq u e n tly placed on m ajor crossroads. I t was w id ely believed th a t crossroads w ere an im p o rtan t place to leave dangerous contam inants such as item s associated w ith social m isdeeds or DISEASE. Crass broom s, a sign o f PURIFICATION, are com m only seen w ith C e n tra l M exican representations o f crossroads. cuauhxicaHi L ite ra lly ' eagle g o u rd ," the cuauAxTca/A was the vessel in w hich the Aztecs m ade th e ir most sacred offerings, hum an HEARTS. R eal gourds, as w e ll as fin ely

A cave sign, a bowl with brooms and copa/, and the body of a probable executed criminal placed with crossroads, Codex Laud, Late Postclassic period. In Mesoamerican thought, crossroads wete widely considered to be dangerous places that provided access to the Underworld.

carved stone objects, m ay have been used fo r cMauAx/ca/&y a t the tim e o f the Conquest. T h e very oldest representations have been ^ found a t C hichen Itz á , so th e tra d itio n m ay d ate to the T o ltec era or e a rlie r. In the POPOL vuH , th e m essenger owls a re told to sacrifice

Blood

W om an,

p reg n an t

w ith

the

H e ro

Eagle-plumed cuauhxicaHi bowl containing hearts and blood, Codex Borbonicus, p. 14, 16th c. Aztec.


72

CURING T w in s , and to b rin g back h e r h e a rt in a gourd

§D8

bow !, perhaps a cuauAx/caZÍL T h e largest know n cuauhxicaRf is th e h ea v ­ ily m aned Jaguar C u au h xicalli o f T e n o c h titla n in whose back is carved a deep basin o rn a ­

dance D an c e p la ye d an im p o rta n t ro le in

m ented w ith the m otifs o f JADE, fea th e rs, and

an c ie n t

hearts typ ical o f h e a rt vessels. A t th e base o f

Sahagún, fo r e xam p le, describes some sort of

the vessel are the depictions o f HurrziLO-

dance - som etim es o f m en, som etim es of w om en, and som etim es o f m en and w om en

pocHTLi and TEZCATUPOCA, both o f w hom d ra w

M eso am erican

religious

ritu a l.

BLOOD from th e ir ears. A d id actic message is

to g e th e r -

rein fo rced : as the gods have o ffered th e ir

e b ra tio n o f th e A ztecs, w ith dancing fre ­

fo r alm ost eve ry VEINTENA cel­

ow n blood, so hum ans m ust m ake offerings

q u e n tly c a rrie d on a t the base o f the PYRAMID

in the cuauAx/caA/.

o f th e god honored on th a t occasion. T h e

curing Illness was b elieved to have a nu m b er

fe s tiv a l, as w e ll as a t rite s o f passage. A n

M ixte es , too, danced to c ele b rate e very m ajo r o f causes, including the hostile actions o f

e lab o ra te

s u p e rn a tu ra l

deficiencies, and excesses such as d ru n ken ­

d ep icted in the C odex Selden. D an cin g fre q u e n tly preceded

ness or w anton sexuality. A

FICE.

or

sorcerers,

accidents, m ajo r cause

M ARRIAGE

D u rin g

d ie

dance, fo r exam ple, is H U M A N SACRi-

v ein ten a celebrations o f

o f sickness was im balance and disharm ony,

T itid , a slave w om an was fu lly a rra y e d as

e ith e r w ith society, the gods and ancestors, or the surrounding w o rld . In o rd er to cure the p a tie n t, it was necessary fo r the curer to

iL A M A T E C U H T L i.

d ivin e the p a rtic u la r source o f an illness. H an d casting w ith the 260-day CALENDAR was often used for this purpose, as it s till is today in highland G u atem ala. Am ong the com mon cures was PURIFICATION, such as by CONFESSION or bathing in stream s or swEATBATHS. Along w ith diviners, im p o rtan t m edical specialists included m idw ives, surgeons and herbalists. Some o f the m ore com mon form s o f surgery included DENTISTRY, the rem oval o f foreign bodies, closing wounds, setting fractures, am putation, and bleeding w ith obsidian la n ­ cets. H o w ev er, surgery was fa r less developed than the n ative know ledge o f plants, w hich appear in an astonishing a rray o f d iffe re n t m edical uses. In the Q uiche POPOL vuH, an aged couple pose as curers o f broken bones, eyes and teeth in order to tric k and destroy the w ounded m onster b ird , vucuB CAQuix. In Postclassic Yucatan tw o aged deities w e re especially id e n tifie d w ith curing. O ne o f these was the old goddess ixcHEL, know n as Goddess O or cAac cAe/ in the codices. Yucatec curers perform ed a festival in h er honor during the 20-d ay m onth o f Z ip . T h e other aged d eity was the creator god, iTZAMNA, w ho was also invoked du rin g the Z ip rites. In L a te Post­ classic C e n tra l M exico, TLAZOLTEOTL seems to have been an especially im p o rtan t goddess o f curing, being closely id en tified w ith both confession and the sw eatbath.

"A n d

b efo re she d ie d , she

danced. T h e old m en b ea t th e drum s fo r h er; the singers sang fo r h e r - th e y in to ned h er song. A nd w h en she danced, she w e p t m uch, and she sighed; she fe lt anguish. F o r tim e was b u t short; the span w as b u t b rie f b efo re she w ould suffer, w h en she w o u ld reach h er end on e a rth ." (F C : 11) A ccording to the A zte c 2 60 -d a y auguries, those born in the trecena o f 1 M o n k e y w ould be dancers, singers, or scribes. Those born on 1 W in d w o u ld be necrom ancers w ho danced w ith the fo re a rm o f a w om an w ho had d ied in c h ild b irth ; th e y w o u ld be e v il people, perhaps even thieves. In g en eral the dancer was a skilled p e rfo rm e r, and dance alm ost alw ays occurred w ith singing and Music. HUEHUECOYOTL and MACuiLxocHiTL w e re the patrons o f m usic and dance. A ccording to surviving depictions, m ost L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ica n dance follow s a cou n ter­ clockw ise m ovem ent. T h e re ad in g o f a lo n g -u n d ecip h ered v erb in M a y a h iero g lyp h ic w ritin g reveals th a t the M a y a n o b ility p erfo rm e d a w id e range o f dances: a snake dance p erfo rm e d w ith liv e boa constrictors, dances w ith b ird staffs, God K staffs, basket staffs, and a fe a th e r dance p erfo rm ed by rulers and th e ir attendants in g re at fe a th e r backracks. As p a rt o f a p ublic perform ance o f ritu a l BLOO DLETTING , M a y a lords p e rfo ra te d th e ir p h a lli w ith long, color­ fu l pairs o f "dan cer's w ings" - or w h a t m ay be p ain te d PAPER o r cloth strips stretched over w ooden supports - and then danced, blood stream ing across the "w in g s ."


73 O th er M a y a lords donned the costum e o f the M A IZ E C O D , or w h a t has also been called the H o lm u l D an cer costum e, and danced w ith DWARVES or hunchbacks, fre q u e n tly w ith arms and hands w aving a t m id-body, as if in im itatio n o f w aving MAIZE foliage. UNDERWORLD deities fre q u e n tly dance in procession, usu­ a lly in a clockwise m otion. D ancers m ay accom pany m usicians, and som etim es they bear rattles and FANS. Some M a y a dance scenes are hum orous spoofs. In the P O P O L V U H , w hen com m anded to p erfo rm in the court o f the lords o f d eath, the H e ro T w in s dance the W easel, the P o o rw ill, and the A rm a d illo . M a n y "sMiLiNC FicuREs" o f Classic V eracru z m ay be dancers, w ith th e ir hands raised in a praying position. M usicians and dancers

Curing: person with fever, Fiorentine Codex, Book 10, 16th e. Aztec.

occur in the a rt o f W est M exico, and the anecdotal groupings include scenes o f a cheek p erfo ratio n dance, in w hich a stick m ay pierce tw o d iffe re n t p erfo rm ers' cheeks, binding dancers tog eth er in pain and bloodletting. T h e so-called T em p le o f D anzantes, or dancers, a t M o n te A lb an probably depicts sacrificial victim s and not dancers at a ll. d aw n T o the n ative peoples o f M esoam erica the appearance o f the daw n m arked m ore than sim ply the beginning o f day: it consti­ tuted the re b irth o f the SUN out o f the h arro w ­ ing depths o f the d eathly U N D E R W O R L D . It was b elieved th a t a fte r the sun set in the w est, it trav eled a t m id n ig h t to the n ad ir o f the U n d e rw o rld and then gradu ally m ade its re ­ ascent to a rriv e a t the east. T h e Aztecs b elieved th a t w hereas the fem ale c iH U A T E T E O p u lled the noonday sun from ze n ith in to the U n d e rw o rld , the you th fu l souls o f w arriors slain in b a ttle accom panied the sun in its eastern ascent. T h e Aztecs also b elieved th a t fo llo w in g its passage through the U n d erw o rld the sun re q u ired sustenance in the form o f hum an B LO O D and H EARTS to begin its arduous ascent in to the SKY. C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS o f the first daw ning con­ tain profound insights in to M esoam erican conceptions o f th e sun and the day. A t the first d aw ning a t T E O T iH U A C A N , the gods sacrificed them selves fo r the n ew ly created sun. A lthough this clea rly constitutes a C e n tra l M exican ch a rter fo r

H U M A N S A C R IF IC E

in o rd er

to nourish the sun, it also describes the end o f m ythic tim e. N o longer m oving, livin g *beings upon the e a rth , the gods are now represented by th e ir m um m y-like f/a g m n iiV0 //7

B U N D LE S .

The

now passive and in e rt

A scene of Aztec dance, Manuscrit Tovar, 16th c.

A probable Maya sign of dawn: the head of the sun god between signs for earth and sky, detail of a hieroglyphic bench, Copán, Late Classic period.


74

DEATH n atu re o f the gods is re ite ra te d in a curious

celeb ratio n s a re c le a rly o f P rehispanic o rigin.

episode m en tio n ed in th e L ey en d a d e so/es.

In ancien t M ex ico , the ArrERLifK destination o f an in d iv id u a l v a rie d according to his or h e r

TLAHLBCALPAKTECUHTLJ, th e god o f d aw n and the m orning star, attacked the sun as it hovered over T eo tih u ac an . T h e sun, in tu rn ,

status and th e m ode o f d eath . M o st souls, h o w e ve r, had to p erfo rm an arduous jo u rn e y

ing star, w ho becam e the god o f co!d. K n ow n

to th e UNDERWORLD, fo r w hich th e y w ere fre q u e n tly supplied w ith food and clothing.

as iTZTLACouuHQLí-MQUíMíLU, he is a!so the

I t w as also b eliev ed th a t Docs knew the w ay

shot an a rro w in to the fo reh ead o f th e m o rn ­

god o f stone. H e com m only displays the

through the U n d e rw o rld , and thus they too

d a rt o f the sun transExed through his stony

fre q u e n tly accom panied th e dead. F o r the

headdress. T h e tran sfo rm atio n o f gods in to

A ztecs, th e re , a re d e ta ile d

in e rt stone is g rap h ically described in the

the U n d e rw o rld hazards faced by the soul.

descriptions o f

POPOL vuH account o f the Erst d aw n . C o n tem ­

A m ong these dangers a re clashing h ills and

p orary m yths o f the Zapotees and M ixtees o f

obsidian-edged w inds. T h e

O axaca also m ention an e arly race o f people

POPOL v u H

turned to stone a t the Erst appearance o f the sun. T h e Erst daw n in g m arks the beginning

the H e ro T w in s in th e ir jo u rn e y through the U n d e rw o rld , in c lu d in g k ille r BATS, Eerce

o f everyday re a lity , in w hich the gods are

JAGUARS,

represented by re la tiv e ly passive bundles or

b eliev ed th a t th e soul w as a t last extinguished

stone sculptures. B ut if the daw n and day constitute present ordered re a lity , the NIGHT

fou r years a fte r d ea th .

by contrast represents the supernatural tim e o f DREAMS and livin g gods re-enacted in the a pp aren t m ovem ents o f the starry sky. 5ee

d eath gods In a n c ie n t M eso am erica, th e re is com m only a m ix tu re o f fe a r and derision

a / s o C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS .

Q u ich e

M aya

describes s im ila r hazards faced by

and

num b in g

cold.

The

A ztecs

tow ard th e gods o f d ea th . A ltho u g h w id e ly thought to be ruthless and cunning, they are fre q u e n tly o u tw itte d and d efe ated in

death In M esoam erican thought death was closely in teg rated in to the w o rld o f the livin g . L ife and death w ere b elieved to exist in dynam ic and com plem entary opposition. It was w id e ly recognized th a t because o f the basic need for nourishm ent, k illin g and SACRi FICE was a necessary aspect o f life . M o reo v er, deceased ancestors exerted p o w erfu l inR uences upon the livin g . N o t only could they send punishing DISEASES, b u t they could serve as in term ed iaries b etw een the livin g and the gods. D u rin g certain o f the 20-day V E IN T E N A S , m ajor festivals honored the dead; the livin g com m unicated w ith th e ir ancestors by means o f food, Rowers, and o th er offerings. A ccord­ ing to the 16th c. D om inican, F ra y D iego D u ra n , the Aztecs perfo rm ed festivals fo r dead children du rin g the 20-day m onth o f Tlaxochim aco, and fo r adults in the fo llo w in g m onth o f X ocotlhuetzi. W ith considerable concern, D u ra n noted th a t although o rig in a lly perform ed in August, m any aspects o f these n ativ e rites w e re being perform ed during th e C ath o lic celebrations o f A ll Saints' D a y and A ll Souls' D a y . This festival event, now w id e ly re fe rre d to as the D a y o f the D ea d , is usually observed during the several days m arking the end o f O ctober and the beginning o f N ovem ber. M arigolds and other offerings s till used today in the D a y o f the D ea d

m ythological accounts. Th u s Q U E T Z A L C O A T L successfully steals the m akings o f people fro m the c ra fty M iC T L A N T E C U H T L i. In th e P O P O L v u H , the H e ro T w in s X b a la n q u e and H u n ah p u tric k the gods o f d eath in to vo lu n te erin g them selves to be sacriRced. Thus the lords o f X ib a lb a a re d efe ated and th e tw in s re trie v e the rem ains o f th e ir fa th e r and uncle. O u r very presence is lite ra lly a liv in g testim ony to (he u ltim a te d e fe a t o f th e d ea th gods. In C e n tra l M exico , the p re e m in e n t god o f d eath was M ic tla n te c u h tli, o r lo rd o f M ic tla n , the U N D E R W O R L D . H e is u sually dep icted as a skeleton w e arin g vestm ents o f PAPER, a com ­ mon o fferin g to the dead. S keletal d eath gods are also know n fo r Protoclassic and Classic V eracru z. A t tim es, th e ir a n im ated p o rtray al suggests a fa m ilia rity b o rd erin g on affection. T h e skeletal M a y a e q u iv a le n t o f M ic tla n te ­ c u h tli is today know n as G od A (see scHELLHAS G O D s ), and com m only appears in Classic M a y a a rt as w e ll as in the Postclassic codices. In one text fro m th e M a d rid C odex, he is re fe rre d to as cizm , or "R a tu le n t one. " CYzm is s till the nam e fo r the d eath god am ong both the Yucatec and Lacandon M a y a . d eer T w o types o f d ee r a re n ativ e to M eso am erica, the w h ite -ta ile d d eer (Ocfoccf/ens am ericana), and the sm aller brocket


75

DEFORMITY

d e e r (A fa z a m a

a m e ric a n a ).

O f these,

th e

w h ite -ta ile d d e e r seem s to h a v e h a d a fa r m o re im p o rta n t ro le in n a tiv e ec o n o m y an d re lig io n . D e e r m e a t w a s a n e s te e m e d food o fferin g , a n d th e skins c o u ld b e used as th e w ra p p in g s o f sacred

a n d as th e lea ves

B U N D LE S ,

o f screenfo ld codices (s ee coDEx). A s o n e o f th e larg e st g a m e a n im a ls , th e w h ite -ta ile d d e e r plays a fa irly passive ro le in M e s o a m e r ­ ican m y th o lo g y a n d is clo sely id e n tifie d w it h gods o f th e h u n t. H o w e v e r , in C lassic M a y a scenes, th e d e e r a p p ea rs in a n im p o rta n t

Death: a mortuary bundle placed in the mouth of a cave. Codex Laud, Late Postclassic period.

m y th ic a l ep iso de in w h ic h th e yo u n g M o o n G oddess Rees h e r a tta c k e rs on th e b a c k o f a d e e r. In c e rta in scenes, this ep iso de seems to h a v e e ro tic overto n es a n d it is lik e ly th a t a m o n g th e M a y a , th e stag w as id e n tiR e d w ith se xu a lity. I n m a n y M e s o a m e ric a n fo rm s o f th e 2 0 d a y n am es, in c lu d in g C e n tr a l M e x ic a n , Z a p o te e , M ix te e a n d M a y a versions, th e te rm or g ly p h fo r d e e r serves as th e s e ven th d a y n a m e . In Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ic o , this d a y w as M a z a tl, w ith TLALoc as its p re s id in g god. In C e n tr a l M e x ic a n sources, a tw o -h e a d e d d e e r is shot b y

M D (C 0 A T L ,

god o f th e

M IL K Y W A Y

and

th e h u n t. T ra n s fo rm e d in to a w o m a n , th e d e e r w as im p re g n a te d b y M ix c o a tl, a n d gave b irth to th e c u ltu re h e ro

QUETZALCO ATL.

d e fo r m ity Since a t le a s t th e E a r ly F o rm a tiv e p e rio d th e re w as a fa scin atio n w ith physical a b n o rm a litie s . I n O lm e c a r t, rep re s e n ta tio n s o f DWARVES a n d hunchbacks ab o u n d . R a th e r

Mictlantecuhtli, the Central Mexican death god. A stone vessel excavated at the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Late Postclassic Aztec.

th a n b e in g o bjects o f d e ris io n , these in d iv id u ­ als a re o fte n p o rtra y e d w it h g re a t s u p e rn a tu ­ r a l p o w e rs . I n re p re s e n te d

on e in stan ce, d w a rv e s a re

s u p p o rtin g

th e

SKY,

w h ile

in

a n o th e r, a chinless d w a r f displays heads o f th e g r e a t h a rp y

E A G LE

u p o n his b ro w . R e p ­

res e n ta tio n s o f d e fo rm itie s

a b o u n d in

th e

P rotoclassic c e ra m ic to m b a r t o f W e s t M e x ic o . A lo n g w it h d w a rv e s a n d hunchbacks, d o u b le ­ headed m o tifs.

DOGS

a re a m o n g th e m o re co m m o n

D u r in g

th e

Protoclassic

p e rio d ,

a n o th e r ty p e o f d e fo r m ity a p p ea rs w id e ly in M e s o a m e ric a n a rt. C o m m o n ly r e fe r r e d to b y th e S pan ish te rm o f

TUERTO ,

this fo rm a p p ea rs

as a g ro te s q u e ly tw is te d fa ce, w it h o n e ey e shut, a b e n t nose, a n d a fr e q u e n tly e x te n d e d , s id e w a y s -c u rv in g to ng ue. I n L a te Postclassic C e n tr a l M e x ic o , ph ys^ ic a l d e fo rm itie s w e r e id e n tiR e d w it h th e AnuiA TETEO ,

C e r ta in

gods o f p le a s u re a n d ph ysical excess. ph ysical d e fo rm itie s

and

illnesses

w e r e p r o b a b ly c o n sid ered to b e p u n is h m e n ts

Xochipilli wearing a deer skin marked with the 20 day names, Codex Borgia, p. 53, Late Postclassic period.


76

DEiF!CATfON sent

by

the

A h u ia te te o

fo r

im m o d e rate

sonation, a hum an could becom e one w ith

b eh avior. H o w e v e r, the id e n tific a tio n o f the

the gods. B y h avin g a liv in g b ein g p erform

A h u ia te te o w ith d efo rm itie s p ro b ab ly goes

as th e god, in d iv id u als p layed out a collective

fu rth e r, as it is lik e ly th a t jesters, m usicians

h istory and a shared m ythic past. T hrough

and

fre q u e n tly

tran ce and tran s fo rm a tio n , the perform ance

defo rm ed or handicapped. T h e p rin cip a! A h u ia te te o was MACUimocHiTL, o r 5 F lo w e r.

p o w e r and ensured the re p eated efficacy o f

o th e r

e n te rta in ers

w e re

In the F lo re n tin e C odex he is described as a god o f the palace fo lk , w hich w o u ld have included

m usicians, dw arves, jesters, and

o th er en te rta in ers.

o f hum ans

as d eities

d is trib u te d

m agical

th e gods. A m ong th e A ztecs, the d eities celeb rated in e ve ry VEINTENA o f the y e a r w e re im personated, som etim es only fo r the ritu a l its e lf, som etim es fo r days b efo re th e c u lm in atin g fes tiva l. In

ded icatio n M o s t ancien t kings o f M ex ico and

th e m ost e lab o ra te case, fo r th e feast o f

the M a y a region w e re recognized as d iv in e ,

T o xcatl, a young m an liv e d as TEZCATLIPOCA

if not in th e ir life tim es , then upon th e ir deaths. According to A ztec accounts, M o te -

fo r a yea r. In this ro le , he w as m uch honored, and M otecu h zo m a h im s e lf adorned h im . H e

cuhzom a 11 surely live d as d iv in e , his fe e t

was accom panied by e ig h t young m en and

never touching the e a rth , avoiding eye con­

then , 20 days b efo re his sacrifice, he was

tact, and never eatin g in fro n t o f any o th er

m a rrie d to fo u r w om en, w h o them selves personified x o c H i Q U E T Z A L , X ilo n e n , A tla to n a n ,

person. W hen M otecuhzom a and C ortes m et on the road from C holula to T e n o c h titla n , C ortés sought to g reet him as if he w e re a European m ortal and to touch h im , an act rep ellen t to the A ztec king. T izo c, one o f M otecuhzom a's predecessors (A ztec ru le r 1481-6), com m em orated his victories in b a ttle w ith a m onum ent th a t depicts him as a conflation o f tw o m ain d eities, the A ztec god o f w a r, HurrziLOPOCHTU, and TEZCATLIPOCA, w ith whose serpent foot Tizoc appears. M a y a rulers held d ivin e status a fte r d eath, and in a ll likelih o o d , in life too. D eiH ed ancestors freq u e n tly occupy the upper m argin o f carved stone m onum ents. A t T ik a l, Storm y Sky's fa th e r and predecessor as king, C u rl Snout, looks dow n on him from above as the sun god. B ird Jaguar o f Yaxchilán had his m other and fa th e r rendered in the heavens on his m onum ents, w ith in cartouches o f the sun and the moon. K ing Pacal o f P alenque, fo r exam ple, is rendered in the conflated a ttire o f tw o gods upon his death: C od K and the Tonsured M a ize G od, w ith w hom he is app aren tly conjoined. A 7th c. Bonam pak king, C han-m uan i, is depicted posthum ­ ously as G od L ; K an X u l o f P alenque appears as C H A C , again posthum ously, on the D u m b a r­ ton Oaks panel. E ven the erection o f m onu­ m en tal PYRAMIDS over the tombs o f dead kings suggests th e ir apotheosis and a practice o f ancestor w orship am ong the ancien t M a y a . D u rin g th e ir ow n lifetim es, M a y a kings o ften appear in the guise o f the MAIZE GOD, w ith w hom they w ere identiH ed. d eity im personation Through d e ity im p e r­

and U ix to c ih u atl. A ccording to Sahagun, the im personator o f T ezcatlip o ca had to have a specific physical appearance: " H e w ho w as chosen w as o f fa ir countenance, o f good und erstan d in g and quick, o f clean body - slender lik e a reed ; long and th in lik e a stout cane; w e ll-b u ilt; not o f o verfed body, not corp u len t, and n e ith e r v ery sm all nor exceedingly ta ll . . . [H e w as] lik e som ething sm oothed, lik e a tom ato, o r lik e a p eb b le , as i f h ew n o f w ood . . . no scabs, pustules, o r boils on th e foreh ead . . . not p ro tru d in g or long ears, nor w ith torpid neck, nor hunch backed, n o r s tiff­ necked, nor w ith neck elongated . . . not em aciated, nor fa t . . . H e w ho w as thus, w ith o u t Haws, w ho had no d efects" w o u ld liv e as T ezcatlip o ca fo r a y e a r (F C : u). In the m onth o f T la c a x ip e h u a liztli, the im personator o f xiPE T O T E C , O u r L o rd the F la ye d O n e , took on th e specific c h aracter­ istics o f th a t god. F o r the fe s tiv a l, a X ip e im personator took on th e ro le 40 days b efo re ­ hand, and he was gloriH ed and re ve red as if he w e re the god him self. O n th e d aw n o f the day o f c eleb ratio n h e, along w ith im person­ ators o f e ig h t o th e r gods, am ong them Hurrzi L O P O C H T L I, Q U E T Z A L C O A T L , M A C U IL X O C H IT L , and M A Y A H U E L , had th e ir hearts sacriHced and then , im m e d ia te ly , th e ir skins Hayed. O th e r m en then donned these Hayed skins and the re g alia o f the various d eities in a cerem ony D u rá n calls N e te o to q u iliztli, w h ich he trans­ lates as "Im p ers o n atio n o f a C o d ." A fte r a ritu a l com bat and m ore sacriHces, fu rth e r m en b o rrow ed th e Hayed skins and, adorned


77

DIRECTIONS

as X ip e, begged fo r 20 days in the streets o f Ten o ch titlan . A t the end o f the 20 days, the foul-sm elling, p u tre fied X ip e skins w e re buried w ith in the X ip e tem p le. These im p e r­ sonations and sacrifices o f A ztec deities served constantly to re n ew the v ita lity o f the god him self. In m any cases in ancien t M esoam erica, d eity im personation m ay have been a sham anic transform ation, in w h ich individuals had a "com panion self" or TONAL in to w hich they changed un d er c ertain conditions. T h e M a y a hieroglyph read UAY links the nam es o f hum ans w ith th e ir com panion selves, usually anim als, and most fre q u e n tly the JAG UAR. A

Deliberate mutilation of teeth: examples of dentistry from Uaxactun, Late Classic Maya.

num ber o f O lm ec sculptures show stages o f the transform ation from hum an to ja g u ar form and are in a ll likelih o o d sham anic trans­ form ations. In th e ir royal costumes, M a y a kings fre ­ q u en tly im personated th e ir gods, most often the M A K E C O D , b u t also the JAG UAR G O D o f the U n d e rw o rld , C H A C , and G i o f the Fee a/so S H A M A N IS M .

P A LE N Q U E

T R IA D .

d en tistry A lthough little is know n o f the practice or m ethod o f M esoam erican dentis­ try , surviving noble skulls fre q u e n tly reveal Rled or in la id teeth , from 1000 Be on u n til the Spanish Conquest. Both filin g and d rillin g often le ft exposed nerves in the teeth and m ust freq u e n tly have resulted in excruciating p ain, in fectio n , and even d eath. Using la p i­ dary skills and techniques, ancien t M esoam ericans d rille d and inserted into teeth ja d e beads, bits o f turquoise and iron pyrites am ong o th er m aterials. D e n ta l in lay app ar­ e n tly alw ays functioned cosm etically and not to re p a ir cavities. Am ong the M a y a , upper incisors w ere som etim es filed to the T-shape o f the sun god, and in this w ay, a hum an s visage could be p erm an e n tly transform ed in to th a t o f a m ajor d eity . T h e ja d e mosaic mask con­ structed d ire c tly on K in g Pacal o f Palenque s face a fte r d eath also fe a tu re d tesserae that form ed a T o f u pper incisors.

east (/a/Mn)

north (xaman)

west (c/rMn)

directions T h e fo u r card in al directions con­ s titu te one o f the u n d erlyin g fram ew orks o f M esoam erican relig io n and cosmology. T h e O lm ecs w ere c lea rly fascinated b y them , and a t th e M id d le F o rm a tiv e O lm ec site o f L a *V en ta, Tabasco, caches o f JADE and serpentine form crosses o rien ted to the fo u r d irec­ tions. T h e placem ent o f fou r c le ft celts across

CELTS

south (no/io/) Comparison of Early Classic and Postclassic Maya direction glyphs: left column, Río Azul, Early Classic; right column, Dresden Codex, Postclassic.


7$

DISEASE

also be an allusion to the fo u r d irectio n s. O n e

depicts a d iffe re n t d ire c tio n a l god, tem pfe, and tre e . S im ila r d ire ctio n al passages app ear

la te O lm ec carvin g , the H u m b o ld t C e lt, m ay

in th e F e jé rv á ry -M a y e r, V atican us B, and

possibly rep resen t p a rtic u la r signs o f th e fo u r

Cospi codices. C o n ta in in g references to d ire c ­

the headband or b ro w o f O lm ec heads m ay

d irections, o rie n te d around a c e n tra l disk

tio n al gods, tem p les, and trees, a very s im ila r

containing a cross. By the E a rly Classic p erio d am ong the

sequence appears in the n ew y ea r pages o f the M a y a D resd en C odex.

M a y a , th ere is clea r epig rap h ic evidence o f d ire ctio n al glyphs. E a rly Classic form s o f the

disease

fou r d ire ctio n al glyphs a re d isplayed upon

M eso am erica,

In

an cien t

the w alls o f To m b 12 a t R io A zu l, G u a te m a la ,

reg ard in g illness. W h ereas disease m arks an

th e re

and is

an

contem porary am bivalence

w h e re they correspond to the correct c ard in a l

im b alanced and dangerous state, it can also

directions, confirm ing the w e ll-k n o w n d ire c ­

den o te a special relatio n s h ip to sup ern atu ral

the Postclassic

pow ers. F re q u e n tly a person e xh ib itin g a

M a y a codices. A side from the still undeciph­

p a rtic u la r illness is b e liev ed to have received

tio n al glyphs app earin g in

ered glyph fo r south, the Classic and Post­

a s u p ern atu ral sum m ons. Q u ite o fte n , people

classic d irectio n al glyphs p rovide p honetic values corresponding to Yucatec M a y a n d irec­

cured o f a disease becom e p o w e rfu l curers

tional term s o f /a M m (east), tram an (n o rth ),

m ost g raphic p o rtrayals o f disease app ear

and c M rin (w est). By the L a te Classic period, there is re lia b le epigraphic evidence for day nam es and coLons o rien ted tow ard the four directions. Thus in

in the Protoclassic tom b sculpture o f W est

the Classic M a y a 819-day cycle, the 20 day nam es are consistently associated w ith p a r­ ticu lar colors and directions. B eginning w ith the first day nam e o f Im ix, the directions and colors shift through the 20 day nam es in a counter-clockw ise m otion from east and red to north and w h ite , w est and black, south and yellow . T h e same o rien tatio n o f day names to colors and directions is w e ll docu­ m ented for the Postclassic Yucatec M a y a . A lthough there are no know n signs for directions or colors in the w ritin g systems o f C e n tra l M exico, directions are freq u e n tly indicated by the use o f the 20 day nam es. As in the case o f the Classic and Postclassic M a y a , the day nam es pass in counter-clock­ wise succession, w ith the first day, C ip a c tli corresponding to the M a y a Im ix - beginning in the east. In o th er w ords, both the M a y a and C e n tra l M exican versions o f the 20 day nam es are o rien ted to precisely the same directions. Since the fou r directions pass Uve tim es evenly through the 20 days, each d irec­ tion has five p a rtic u la r days. F o r exam ple, the first, fifth , n in th , th irte e n th , and seventeenth day names o f C ip a c tli, C o atí, A tl, A catl, and O llin a ll correspond to the east. In the C e n tra l M exican codices, these fou r five-day groups are often used to designate the cardinal directions. Thus pages 49 to 52 o f the Codex Borgia contain elab o rate scenes corresponding to the fo u r d irectio n al grou­ pings o f day nam es. Each o f the fou r pages

and SHAMANS. Som e o f the e a rlie s t as w e ll as

M exico , especially th a t o f th e Ix tla n d el R io style o f N a y a rit. Diseases a re com m only b eliev ed to d e riv e from CAVES and th e UNDERWORLD. T h e Q uiché M a y a P O P O L v u H describes p a rtic u la r diseases caused by the U n d e rw o rld lords o f X ib a lb a . A m ong these d eath gods a re A h alp u h and A h alg an , w ho cause sw ellin g , pus, and ja u n ­ dice, C h am iab ac and C h am iah o lo m , m akers o f extrem e w asting and em aciatio n , and X ic and P a tan , bringers o f blood vo m it. I t is p robable th a t m any o f the U n d e rw o rld gods and dem ons in Classic M a y a vessel scenes a re also personifications o f p a rtic u la r diseases. In the Yucatec M a y a o f the the lo rd o f the U n d e rw o rld , H u n A h au , is fre q u e n tly evoked. In this C o lo n ial tex t, diseases are tre a te d as p ersonified sen tien t beings th a t can be addressed by the curer. A m ong th e m aladies m en tio n ed a re p a rtic u la r seizures, asthm a, and skin eruptions. A m ong contem porary Yucatec M a y a , c e rta in diseases a re b eliev ed to be caused by insects sent from the U n d e rw o rld by e v il sorcerers. In m any parts o f M eso am erica, diseases a re thought to be caused b y sorcery. In the e a rly C o lo n ial Yucatec d ictio n aries, th e re are term s describing sorcerers w ho can cause blood or pus in u rin e , in te s tin a l w orm s, d ia rrh e a , and o th e r u n pleasant com plaints. Sorcerers are w id e ly b eliev ed to attack the souls or sup ern atu ral a lte r egos o f in d ivid u als, th e re b y causing illness and d eath . A p a rtic u ­ la rly fea red form o f sorcerer is the in d iv id u al w ho can transform in to an an im al. T o the Aztecs, this in d iv id u a l was know n as f/ac afe -


79

DIVINATION

co/od, o r " o w l person. " T h e A z te c F lo r e n tin e C od ex describes th e d e eds p e rfo r m e d b y this in d iv id u a l:

"H e

is a h a te r , a d e s tro y e r o f

p eop le; an im p la n te r o f sickness, w h o bleed s h im s e lf

over

potions -

oth ers,

who

w h o m akes th e m

kills

th e m

by

d r in k po tio ns;

w h o bu rn s w o o d e n figures o f o th e rs ." Im p u ritie s caused b y excessive se x u a lity an d drun ken n e ss a re a n o th e r cause o f d is­ ease. P ro stitu te s, a d u lte re rs a n d d ru n k a rd s th e re fo re

a c te d

as vectors

C e n tra l M e x ic o , th e

o f disease.

In

w e r e s im u l­

A H U iA T E T E O

tan eo u sly th e gods o f excess a n d p u n is h m e n t, fr e q u e n tly

in

th e

fo rm

th e

M A C U iL X O C H iT L ,

o f sickness.

p rin c ip a l

Thus

A h u ia te te o ,

b ro u g h t diseases o f th e g e n itals to those w h o c o p u la te d w h ile u n d e r fast. Im m o d e r a tio n re p re s e n te d a dang ero us im b a la n c e b e tw e e n th e p e o p le a n d th e s u rro u n d in g n a tu ra l an d s u p e rn a tu ra l w o rld s a n d , fo r this reaso n, th e te rr ib le ep id e m ic s o f th e 16 th c. w e r e w id e ly co n sid ered to b e signs o f d iv in e p u n is h m e n t a n d re tr ib u tio n . T o th e n a tiv e su fferers, these plagu es

w e re

o fte n

re g a rd e d

as signs o f

p ro fo u n d s p iritu a l as w e ll as ph ysical illness. S e e a i s o C U R IN G ; D E F O R M IT Y .

Part of a passage describing temples, gods, and day names of the four directions, Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, p. 33, Late Postclassic period. In the lower portion of the scene, the five eastern day names are placed below the sun god, Tonatiuh, who stands before his temple.

d iv in a tio n D iv in a tio n is a n essen tial e le m e n t o f M e s o a m e ric a n

relig iou s life . As a sign

o f its im p o rta n c e , th e p rim o rd ia l

A NC ESTR A L

COUPLE a n d e v e n th e creato rs th em selves are o fte n d e scrib e d as d iv in e rs . T h u s th e A z te c g e n e trix

Toci

w as re g a rd e d as th e goddess o f

d iv in e rs as w e ll as th e m o th e r o f th e gods. I t is q u ite lik e ly th a t th e ag ed Goddess O o f th e M a y a (s ee

S C H E L LH A S c o o s )

w as s im ila rly

re g a rd e d as a d iv in e r as w e ll as an ag ed c re a to r goddess. I n C e n tra l M e x ic o , th e p r i­ m o rd ia l co u p le k n o w n as O xo m o co a n d C ip a c to n a l a r e d e scrib e d as d iv in e rs . A cco rd in g to th e Q u ic h e M a y a

POPO L v u n ,

th e ag ed co u p le

X p iy a c o c a n d X m u c a n e p e rfo rm e d d iv in a to ry h a n d casting d u rin g th e c re a tio n o f p e o p le. N o t o n ly do d iv in e rs p la y a ro le in ACCOUNTS,

C R E A T IO N

b u t th e a c tu a l p ra c titio n e rs fr e ­

q u e n tly c o m p a re th e ir r itu a l acts to th a t o f c re a tio n .

Thus

th e

d iv in e r

co m m o n ly

describes a n d in vokes th e im ages a n d forces p re s e n t a t th e tim e o f c re a tio n . T h is m a y b e seen in a p o rtio n o f a re c e n t M a z a te c d iv in a to ry p r a y e r b y M a r ia S abina:

From out o í the mghf and darkness, says 71ben the trees grew, the mountains and ^rtc^es were /brmed, says, H e on/y thought about it and iooied into it to the bottom, says,

Woman performing divination by handcasting to determine the outcome of a disease, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec. The starry night symbol behind the diviner indicates that this was a nocturnal rite.


DfVINC GOD

TAen fAe p/a/ns anc/ Ao//owy AarJenet/, ^ayy 7Aat Is wAat we are gom^ fo do, too, says.

M a y a p a n and o th e r la te site* o f the n o rthern

fEy^rada and Mum? 19^2. 742^

M a y a low lands. In scholarly lite ra tu re , this b ein g is o fte n re fe rre d to as a bee god hut

T h e M esoam ehcan id e n tiEca tion o f d iv in ­

th e re is little iconographic support for this id e n tific a tio n . T h e vast m a jo rity o f d iv in g god

ation w ith creatio n is p ro b ab ly because it is,

figures ap p e ar to rep resen t th e M a y a MAizH

by its n a tu re , a m iraculous act. T h ro u g h ritu a l

coD ,

and p ra y e r, the d iv in e r sum mons the godly

SCHELLHAS CODS).

com m only re fe rre d to as God E (see

pow ers o f creation to m an ifest them selves again in a physical and tan g ib le m ed iu m . In

dog T h e te n th d ay sign in the C e n tra l M e x i­

contrast to the casting o f lots d u rin g gam bling

can c ale n d ar rep resen ted th e dog, know n as

gam es, d iv in a tio n

Itz c u in tli in N a h u a tl; in the Yucatec M a y a

was not recreatio n

but

c ale n d ar, the ten th d ay sign, O c, p ro b ab ly

re -creat/o n . In an cien t M eso am erica, d iv in atio n took

also re fers

m any form s. T h e 260-d ay CALENDAR, so c en tral

re ad in g is know n fo r the w o rd its e lf. xiPE

to M esoam erican life , served p rim a rily as a

TOTEC and QUETZALCOATL presided o ver the

d iv in ato ry alm anac, and p ro b ab ly had its origins in d iv in ato ry rites p e rta in in g to m id ­

trecena 1 Itz c u in tli. T h e n a tiv e M eso am erican dog w as a h a ir­

w ives and the hum an gestation p erio d . I t was

less c re a tu re , p rin c ip a lly raised as a foodstuff.

to the dog, although

no such

often used in conjunction w ith sortilage, or

M a le s w e re o ften castrated and fo rce -fed . In

the d iv in ato ry casting o f !ots, w hich was often

C e n tra l M ex ico , a person born on the d ay 4

p erform ed w ith seeds th a t w e re random ly cast and then counted for the augury. I t is

D og in the trecena I D e e r w o u ld be a g ifte d b re ed er o f dogs and w o u ld n ev er lack fo r

probable th a t the vast num ber o f d iv in ato ry alm anacs in the ancient screenfold books w ere used w ith hand casting. Scrying w ith MIRRORS or pools o f w a te r was another form

food.

o f M esoam erican d ivin atio n . Am ong the Tarascans o f M ichoacán, the SHAMANS o f the king could see a ll past and fu tu re events through bowls o f w a te r or m irrors. T h e events w itnessed by these seers could be used as evidence in court cases. Aside from sortilage and scrying, M esoam erican diviners com m only used th e ir ow n bodies fo r prognostications. Thus d iv ­ iners could receive messages through muscle tw itchings or the pulsing o f blood. In C e n tra l M exico, d ivin atio n was also p erfo rm ed by hand spans. H e re the d iv in er m easured the le ft arm o f the p a tie n t w ith the outstretched span o f the rig h t hand. Visions d erived from H A L L U C IN O G E N S are another im p o rtan t form o f d ivin atio n , and are still w id e ly used am ong contem porary diviners o f M exico. Am ong the m ore common hallucinogenic plants used in d ivin atio n are m orning glory, jinsom w eed, and peyote. D iv in g C od O ne o f the m ore com m on sculp­ tu ra l m otifs o f L a te Postclassic Yucatán is a you th fu l figure th a t appears to be diving headfirst from the sky. A lthough the most elab o rate and best-know n exam ples occur in the arch itecture o f T u lu m , Q u in tan a Roo, the d ivin g god also appears in the sculpture o f

XOLOTL, a C e n tra l M e x ic a n god w ith in ti­

m ate ties to the UNDERWORLD, som etim es has the head o f a dog. In both A ztec and M a y a b e lie f dogs, perhaps em bodying the ro le o f X o lo tl, guided th e ir m asters in to the U n d e r­ w o rld a fte r DEATH and w e re o f p a rtic u la r use in crossing bodies o f WATER. T h a t this b e lie f is o f some a n tiq u ity is borne o u t by c a re fu lly b u ried skeletons o f dogs in te rre d w ith hum ans a t L a te F o rm a tiv e C h up icu aro . Dogs also accom panied th e ir m asters in E a rly Classic M a y a TOMBS, and fre q u e n tly ap p ear in U n d e rw o rld scenes on p ain te d Classic M a y a pots. In the POPOL vuH, w h en they p erfo rm ed in th e court o f th e lords o f d eath , the H e ro T w in s sacriSced a dog and then brought it back to life ; th e g ra te fu l dog w agged his ta il. Dogs a re a fre q u e n t subject o f W est M e x ­ ican, p a rtic u la rly C o lim a , a rt. W h ile m any app ear sim ply to be n atu ra lis tic represen­ tations o f the fa t, hairless dog, others w e a r masks and belong to a su p ern atu ral realm . dream s M eso am erican peoples recognized dream s as special tim es o f com m unication b etw een hum ans and the su p ern atu ral w o rld. In dream s, hum ans can contact com panion spirits, or w h a t a re called UAYS or T O N A L S , and e n te r dialogues w ith ancestors and gods. A ccording to D u rá n , a t the tim e o f the lan d in g o f the Spanish invaders in V eracru z,


81

DUALITY

M otecuhzom a n grew preoccupied w ith omens and dream s; he com m anded his peo­ ple to come fo rw ard and re la te th e ir dream s, even if they w e re u n favo rab le. A n old m an reported th a t he had seen the tem p le o f Hum ziLO PO C H TLi on fire and fa lle n ; an old wom an told o f a dream in w hich a riv e r ripped through the royal palace, destroying it. M otecuhzom a cast the dream ers in to ja il and le ft them to die. A m o n g th e m o d e rn h ig h la n d M a y a , a d o le ­ scents - o r pre-ad o lesc en ts -

m a y b e c a lle d

as SHAMANS o r c a le n d a r k e ep e rs th ro u g h illness an d d rea m s. In Z in a c a n ta n , a 10- o r 1 2 -y e a rold b o y o r g irl receives th re e d re a m s w h e n

Effigy vessel in the form of a dog wearing a human mask, Colima, Protoclassic period.

ca lle d as a sh am an. d u a lity O n e o f th e basic s tru c tu ra l p rin c ip le s o f M e s o a m e ric a n relig iou s th o u g h t is th e use o f p a ire d oppositions. In th ese p a irin g s , th e re is a re c o g n itio n o f th e es sen tial d e n ce

of

opposites.

T h is

in te r d e p e n ­

c o m p le m e n ta ry

op p o sitio n is m ost c le a rly re p re s e n te d in th e sexual p a irin g o f m a le a n d fe m a le . T o th e A ztec s, th e s u p re m e c re a tiv e p rin c ip le w as OM ETEO TL, th e god o f d u a lity . I n

this single

s e lf-g e n e ra tin g b e in g , th e m a le a n d fe m a le p rin c ip le s w e r e jo in e d . T h e o m n ip o te n t god co uld also b e r e fe r r e d

to b y its m a le an d

fe m a le aspects, O m e te c u h tli a n d O m e c ih u a tl. S im ila rly , th e M ix te e s an d o th e r M e s o a m e r ­ ica n c u ltu re s co n sid ered c re a tio n to b e th e w o rk o f a s e xu a lly p a ire d coup le. A s id e fro m th e m a le an d fe m a le p rin cip les, co m m o n o p p o sitio n a l p a irin g s in c lu d e life an d d e a th , sky a n d e a rth , z e n ith a n d n a d ir, d a y a n d n ig h t, sun a n d m oon , fire a n d w a te r . I t can re a d ily b e seen th a t such series o f p a irin g s c o u ld b e ea sily lin k e d in to a la rg e r g ro u p o f oppositions. T h u s , fo r e x a m p le , on e side could e n ta il m a le , life , sky, z e n ith , d a y , sun, a n d fire , w h e re a s

th e o th e r w o u ld b e fe m a le ,

d e a th , e a rth , n a d ir, n ig h t, m oon , a n d w a te r . Such la rg e r s tru c tu ra l oppositions a re e v id e n t in

b o th c o n ta c t p e rio d a n d

c o n te m p o ra ry

M e s o a m e ric a n relig io u s system s. T h e co n ce p t o f d u a lity can b e tra c e d as fa r b a ck as th e E a r ly F o rm a tiv e a r t o f h ig h la n d M e x ic o , w h e r e som e c e ra m ic m asks fro m th e site o f T la tilc o a r e c le ft d o w n th e m id d le fro m b r o w to ch in , a liv in g fa c e on o n e sid e a n d a Aeshless skull on th e o th e r. In C lassic M a y a ^ w ritin g , d is ta n c e n u m b e rs used in c a le n d ric a l re fe re n c e s a re occasion ally in tro d u c e d w it h p a ire d couplets. O n th e L a te C lassic T a b le t o f th e 9 6 G ly p h s fro m P a le n q u e , th e p a ire d

Two examples of duality. (AgAf) Split mask representing living and ñeshless face, Tlatilco, Early Formative period. (Be/ow) The death god, Mictlantecuhtli (left), with the life-giving god of wind, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl; Codex Borgia, p. 56, Late Postclassic period.


nz

DWARVES AND HUNCHBACKS

e d ib le fungus know n today in C e n tra ! M exico

glyphs fo r sun and darkness, Venus and m oon, and w in d and w a te r precede distance

as Au/dbcocAe, w hich invades and distorts an

num bers. T h e significance o f such coup!ets in

e a r o f m aize. A t Y axchilán, tw o d w arves w ith

M a y a c ale n d rica l expressions rem ains to be

star m arkings on th e ir backs atten d K ing B ird

exp iain ed . Perhaps the m ost advanced lite r ­

Jaguar in a BALLCAME scene and m ay re fe r to

a ry

use o f p a ire d

expressions appears in

N a h u a tl ritu a l speech, w h e re a p a ir o f w ords is used to re fe r to a th ird concept. K n ow n by

the con stellatio n C e m in i, know n as the TURTLE or d w a rf star am ong th e M a y a . A m ong the A ztecs,

TLALO c,

lik e the M a y a

its Spanish nam e, d t/ras/sino, this lite ra ry

ra in god

device

N a h u a tl.

hunchbacks, and d efo rm itie s. T h e king o f

A m ong the b e tte r know n exam ples a re Rre

C haleo o ffe red a hunchback to the T la lo q u e

is

re la tiv e ly

com m on

and w a te r to a llu d e to w a r (see O L L i) ,

in

A T L T L A C H iN

red and black fo r w ritin g , and stone

and w ood fo r punishm ent.

CHAC,

w as associated w ith dw arves,

(gods o f ra in and lig h tn in g ); he had him c arried to a cave in a d o rm a n t volcano, w h e re th e T la lo q u e w elcom ed him to th e ir palace. W h e n the king la te r found h im a liv e , he took

dw arves and hunchbacks A t the tim e o f the

it as an om en th a t C haleo w o u ld fa ll, as

Spanish C onquest, M otecuhzom a I I , lord o f

it d id th a t y e a r, to the M e x ica . See a/yo

the Aztecs, kept a troop o f dw arves to e n te r­

A H U IA T E T E O ; D E F O R M IT Y ; T U E R T O S .

tain him and som etim es to advise h im on m atters o f state and relig io n . B u t the im p o rt­ ance o f dw arves - and hunchbacks, w ith w hom they are often paired - in M eso am erican religion goes back to the e arlies t tim es, w hen the O lm ecs paid special atten tio n to dw arves. O n P otrero N uevo A lta r I , dw arves support the sym bol for sky, and so m ay w e ll have been understood to be SKYBEAHERS, perhaps akin to the M a y a bacabs. M a n y sm all, p o rtab le O lm ec objects fe a tu re dw arves and hunchbacks, some occasionally w ith wings. These im ages m ay w e ll be linked to concepts in the G u lf Coast a rea th a t have survived in to m odern tim es o f the cAaneAey, m ischievous dw arves and spirits w ho p lay unpleasant tricks on hum ankind. T h e M a y a believed th a t dw arves w e re child ren o f the Chacs (rain gods), and that they could bring rain . Some contem porary highland M exico M a y a peoples b elieve th a t dw arves d w e ll under the surface o f the earth . In Yucatec, dw arves are also know n as ciz Amm, or "e a rth f a r te r /' presum ably because o f th e ir proxim ity to the ground. O n some Classic M a y a pots and m onum ents, dw arves are nam ed as such, and the w ord fo r d w a rf, cA a f is w ritte n phonetically. T h e Zapotees believed th a t m ountain gods w e re dw arves. From abundant Classic M a y a depictions o f dw arves, it is clear th a t most suffered shortlim b dw arfism , or w h a t is som etim es know n as acAondrop/asia. T h e MAIZE GOD is o ften shown dancing w ith a d w a rf or a hunchback on pain ted vases from the N a ra n jo -H o lm u l region; perhaps the d w a rf is an allusion to the sm aller second ear o f m aize freq u e n tly issued by the m aize p lan t, or perhaps to the

eagle T h e re a re tw o im p o rta n t species o f eagle n a tiv e to M eso am erica, th e h arp y eagle (.Ha^p/a A arp y/a) and the golden eagle (A g tn /a cA/y-saefay). N a tiv e to the hum id low lands, the h arp y eagle is the g reatest avian p re d a to r o f M eso am erica. W ith its m assive, razo r-sh arp talons, it is capable o f k illin g a d u lt m onkeys. Thus it is n o t surprising th a t th e h arp y eagle plays a m ajo r ro le in F o rm a tiv e O lm ec iconography. In O lm ec a rt, the h arp y can be re a d ily id e n tifie d by its sharply d o w n tu rn ed ra p to ria l b eak and its p ro m in en t, fo rw ard -s w ee p in g fe a th e r crest. T h e "ñ am e eyebrow s ' ap p earin g in O lm ec iconography a re a form o f th e h arp y eagle crest. T h e O lm ec sym bolism o f the h arp y was und ou b ted ly com plex. I t o ften appears on O lm ec ja d e ite "spoons," w h ich w e re q u ite possibly receptacles fo r blood d u rin g penis p erfo ra tio n . A m ong the Classic M a y a , a b ird , q u ite p ro b ab ly th e h arp y eagle, serves as the p e r­ sonified fo rm o f the roughly 2 0 -y e a r Aatun. T h e same b ird also serves fo r the AaAfun tim e p erio d , although h ere it is distinguished by having a hum an hand serving as th e lo w e r ja w . A long w ith a th ick ra p to ria l beak, the b ird displays a p ro m in e n t fe a th e r crest upon the b ro w . T h e Aafun b ird also serves as a sym bol fo r the sky, and in M a y a w ritin g can provide th e phonetic v alu e o f can or cAan, the M a y a n term fo r "sky. " T h e b ird head appearing as the Classic form o f the day M e n


83

EARTH

is p ro b a b ly also a n e a g le , as th e Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ic a n fo rm o f this d a y n a m e is C u a u h tli,

m e a n in g

" e a g le ."

In

th e

" h in t

(Le/t) Enthroned hunchback, detail of Chenes capstone, Late Classic Maya.

s h ield " w a r expression o f C lassic M a y a ico n 足 og raph y, a n e a g le h e a d c a n b e s u b s titu te d fo r th e sign fo r

In

F L IN T .

L a te

Postclassic

C e n tra l M e x ic o th e e a g le w as s im ila rly id e n t i足

(Center) Aztec eagle warrior sculpture, Templo Mayor,Tenochtitlan, Late Postclassic period.

fied w ith h in t. T h e e a g le plays a n e s p e c ia lly p r o m in e n t role in th e

re lig io n o f Postclassic C e n tr a l

M e x ic o . In b o th C e n tr a l M e x ic a n a n d M ix te e w ritin g , it ap p e a rs as th e 1 5 th d a y n a m e , co rresp on din g to th e M a y a d a y M e n . R e n d 足 e re d w it h a la rg e fe a th e r crest, it is p ro b a b ly th e h a rp y r a th e r th a n th e g o ld e n ea g le. In b o th w r itin g a n d a rt, it is fr e q u e n tly frin g e d w ith A in t b lades. I n L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M e x ic o , th e ea g le w as a sym b ol o f th e sun. T h u s in N a h u a tl, th e te rm s fo r ascen din g ea g le (c u a u h f7 e h u a n if/) a n d d e s ce n d in g ea g le ( c u a u h fe m o c ) w e r e used to r e fe r to th e risin g a n d s e ttin g o f th e

F o r th e A ztec s, th e

S U N.

e a g le s y m b o liz e d o n e o f th e

tw o m ilita ry

ord e rs d e d ic a te d to th e sun, th e o th e r b e in g th e

JAG UAR

(s ee

W A R R IO R O R D E R S ).

also id e n tiA e d w it h

E agles w e r e

H U M A N S A C R IF IC E ,

one o f

th e p r im a r y m ean s o f n o u ris h in g th e sun. Thus

e a g le fe a th e r d o w n w as a co m m o n

sym b ol o f sacriAce in C e n tr a l M e x ic o . H u m a n HEARTS o ffe re d to th e sun w e r e k n o w n as cu au h n o ch fh , o r " e a g le cactus f r u it ." T h e s e h e a rts w e r e

fre q u e n tly

vessel k n o w n as th e

p la c e d in a stone th e " e a g le

c u A U H X iC A L L i,

g o u rd ve ssel." T h e g o ld e n ea g le h a d a sp ecial ro le in th e le g e n d a ry fo u n d in g o f th e A z te c c a p ita l o f T e n o c h titla n . A c c o rd in g to m y th , th e A ztecs fo u n d e d

th e ir c a p ita l w h e re a n ea g le fe d

up o n a n o p a l cactus. T h is p la c e corresponds to T e n o c h titla n , o r " p la c e o f th e n o p a l cactus ro c k ." e a rth T h e su rface o f th e e a rth w as consid足 e re d

in

a

v a rie ty

M e s o a m e ric a . Q u ite

of

w ays

in

a n c ie n t

fr e q u e n tly , th e e a rth

w as re g a rd e d as a liv in g e n tity . T h u s in b o th C e n tr a l M e x ic a n a n d Y u c a te c M a y a th o u g h t, th e e a rth c o u ld b e v ie w e d as a g r e a t CAIMAN B o a tin g u p o n th e

SEA.

T h e A ztec s co n sid ered

it too as a m onstrous d e v o u rin g b e in g , w it h a h u g e g a p in g m a w , talons, a n d gn ash ing m o u th s p la c e d on jo in ts o f th e lim b s . K n o w n as

T L A L T E C U H T L i,

or " e a r th lo r d ," this b e in g is

a c tu a lly d u a lly sexed, a n d possesses a stro ngly fe m in in e

c o m p o n e n t.

The

e a rth

w as

also

re g a rd e d as a A at fo u r-s id e d Aeld, w it h th e

(Be/ow) Ancestor rising out of the earth as a fruit-bearing tree, sarcophagus of Pacal, Temple of the Inscriptions, Paienque, Late Classic Maya.


M

ECLÍPSE fo u r omEcnoMS corresponding to each o f th e

The

A ztecs

h eld

strong

b eliefs

about

sides. F o r the M a y a , this m ode! is m e ta p h o ricaHy com pared to the q u ad ra n g u lar m aize

eclipses. T h e d read ed TzrrziMiMK star dem ons

Held. in

b e lie f, the c reatio n o f the w o rld is com pared

to EARTH, and consum ed h u m an ity . A ccording to Sahagún, the people sought ou t those o f

both Y ucatec and Q u ich e

M aya

becam e v isib le d u rin g an eclipse, descended

to the m aking o f the m aize h eld . F o r the

fa ir face and h a ir fo r sacrifice to the sun and

Q uiche POPOL vuH, this cou!d be v ie w e d as a

d re w

p re p a ra tio n fo r the c reatio n o f the p resent

th a t th e sun w o u ld n o t re tu rn and th a t the

blood fro m

th e ir ow n ears, in fe a r

hum an race, th e p eople o f corn. A m ong the

tzitziyn im e w o u ld be unleashed on the e arth .

m odern S ierra N a h u a t o f P u e b la, the e a rth

T o fo re s ta ll the e v il p o w e r o f an eclipse they

is seen as a m aize Held, w ith people being

raised a g re a t d in , shouting and p layin g

born or 'p la n te d " upon its surface. A long w ith the q u ad ran g u lar m odel, the

m usical in stru m en ts. Since the tim e o f the C onquest it has been know n th a t th e M a y a

e a rth was considered to be a round disk. Thus

also m ake g re a t am ounts o f noise to try to

the Aztecs re fe rre d to it as A n a h u a tl, a disk

stop an eclipse. In 1991, w h e n a to ta l eclipse

surrounded by a rin g o f w a te r. In C o lo n ial

was v isib le in m uch o f C e n tra l and N o rth e rn

Yucatec M a y a w ritin g and m aps, a s im ila r

M ex ico , n a tiv e peoples in m any parts o f the

conception o f the e arth

country m ad e a com m otion to stave o ff any

appears.

H o w ev er,

the

as a round disk an cien t

M aya

b a le fu l effects.

regarded the c ircu lar earth not only as a Hat disk, bu t also as a m ore rounded b a ll-lik e form . T h e re is re lia b le evidence th a t the Classic and Postclassic M a y a saw the e arth as a g re at tortoise, m uch lik e peoples o f eastern N o rth A m erica and Asia, a/so C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS .

eclipse Eclipses w ere dreaded throughout ancient M exico and G u atem ala. A n eclipse occurs w hen th ree celestial bodies a re aligned in such a w ay th a t one body passes b etw een the o th er tw o. As fa r as is know n, eclipses in M esoam erica w e re universally seen as the b itin g o f the SUN or the b itin g o f the M O O N . In Yucatec M a y a n , eclipses w e re called c A tM Ain, or the "b itin g o f the sun." Solar eclipses w ere thought to be fa r m ore dangerous than lu n a r ones. T h e developm ent o f an accurate lu n a r C A L E N D A R am ong the M a y a guided calculations fo r solar and lu n a r eclipses, allo w in g them to develop eclipse w arn in g dates, although they could not p re d ict w h e th e r or not it w ould be visible. T h e D resden Codex eclipse w arn in g tables could have been used to a le rt PRIESTS and rulers to eclipse possibilities. In this codex, an eclipse o f the sun was often pictured as the eating o f the Ain glyph by a sky serpent. T h e m odern M a y a - specifically the M o p a n , T zo tzil, Yucatec, and C hoi - believe th a t eclipses occur w hen the sun and moon fight. In o th er M a y a accounts, the sun is attacked by ants during a solar eclipse. T h e M a y a and o th er contem porary n ative peoples b elieve th a t pregnant w om en should not w itness an eclipse, lest the fetus be deform ed.

E h e ca tl A lso re fe rre d to as E h e c a tl-Q u e tza lcoatl, this god represents

Q UETZALCO ATL

in his

aspect as god o f W IN D . In the iconography o f L a te Postclassic h ig h lan d M ex ico , he is usu­ a lly black, w ith a strikin g red m ask resem bling a beak. A lth o u g h this m ask p ro b ab ly derives from a duck b ill, th e corners o f th e m outh a re usually p ro vid ed w ith a long p a ir o f curving canines. In a d d itio n , E h ecatl w ears a g re a t d eal o f shell J E W E LR Y , th e m ost im p o rta n t piece being his cut conch p ec to ral o r ehecaf/acacozcatA T h e shell je w e lry and o th e r e le ­ m ents o f his costum e suggest th a t E h e ca tl o rg in a lly d erive d fro m the H u astec a re a o f n o rth ern V eracru z. H o w e v e r, tw o la te 9 th c. m onum ents fro m th e M a y a site o f S eibal p o rtray possible e a rly form s o f th e beaked E h ecatl. A ltho u g h both o f these stelae e xh ib it strong C e n tra l M e x ica n influences, th e re are no know n exam ples o f E h ecatl in h ighland M exico p rio r to th e L a te Postclassic. In N a h u a tl, eA ecat/ signifies " w in d ," and this d e ity was c red ited w ith "sw eep ing the w a y " fo r th e T la lo q u e , the gods o f RAIN and L iC H T N iN C . H e appears as th e p atro n o f W in d , the second o f th e 20 day nam es, and o f the second T R E C E N A o f 1 Jaguar. H o w e v e r, E h ecatl is best know n fo r his m ajo r ro le in C en tra! M ex ica n C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S w h e re he figures as a m ajor creator god and cu ltu re hero. A long w ith creating the e arth and heavens w ith T E Z C A T L iP O C A , E hecatl also rescued the bones o f people from the U N D E R W O R L D , thereb y creating the present race o f hum ankind. According to various accounts he also obtained M A iz E , P U L Q U E , and M u s ic w ith w hich to w orship the gods.


85

ENEMAS

T h e specific te m p le o f E h e c a tl w as a c irc u ­ lar b u ild in g w ith a co nical ro o f; q u ite fr e ­ q u e n tly a g re a t s e rp e n t m a w serves as th e d o o rw ay , as i f th e te m p le w as a sy m b o lic CAVE p ro v id in g e n tra n c e to th e w in d in g d e p th s o f th e U n d e r w o r ld . D u e to th e c o m m o n b u t strik in g co n d itio n o f " b r e a th in g c a v e s ," w in d is co m m o n ly

b e lie v e d

in

M e s o a m e r ic a

to

Maya representation of a solar eclipse, Dresden Codex, p. 57, Postclassic period.

d e riv e fro m th e U n d e r w o r ld . Am ong

th e

L a te

Postclassic

M ix te e ,

E h e c a tl w as k n o w n as 9 W in d . I n th e P re hispanic C o d e x V in d o b o n e n s is , this M ix te e

(Be/ow) Aztec sculpture of Ehecatl with his characteristic beak-like mask, Late Postclassic period.

god w as b o rn fro m a H in t on th e d a y 9 W in d in th e y e a r o f 10 H o u s e . A c c o rd in g to th e C o lo n ia l

Te/Z e rja n o -R em e n sis, 9 W in d w as

also a n A z te c b irth d a te o f E h e c a tl. T h e d e ity 9 W in d plays a n im p o rta n t ro le in th e M ix te e codices fo r, lik e his A z te c c o u n te rp a rt, h e a p p ea rs as a m a jo r c u ltu re h e ro . I n se veral scenes, h e is re p re s e n te d re c e iv in g his a t t r i­ b u tes fro m a n ag ed p a ir o f c re a to r gods. T h e C o d e x V in d o b o n e n sis also d e p ic ts 9 W in d raisin g th e SKY, an ep iso de c re d ite d to E h e c a tl in

C e n tr a l

M e x ic a n

c re a tio n

accounts.

In

a n o th e r scene, 9 W in d o b tain s h a llu c in o g e n ic m ush ro om s fo r th e gods. I t ap p e a rs

th a t,

m u ch lik e Q u e tz a lc o a tl o f le g e n d a ry TOLLAN, 9 W in d w as co n sid ered as a n ancestor o f im p o rta n t M ix te e ru lin g fa m ilie s . e n em as O n e o f th e m o re cu rio us th em es in C lassic M a y a a r t is th e use o f g o u rd en em as d u rin g r itu a l d rin k in g bouts. A lth o u g h it has o fte n b e e n suggested th a t th ese en em as w e r e used fo r co nsu m ing HALLUCINOGENS, it is fa r m o re lik e ly th a t th e y co n ta in e d a n alcoh olic b e v e ra g e , such as b a lc h é o r PULQUE. A t tim es, th e en em as a re d e p ic te d in association w it h a vessel g ly p h ic a lly la b e le d c /o r cAi, a M a y a n te rm

s ig n ify in g

p u lq u e

or

o th e r

alcoh olic

drin ks. A c c o rd in g to on e 16 th c. accou nt, th e H u a s te c M a y a

o f n o rth e rn V e ra c ru z used

en em as d u rin g tim es o f e x tre m e in to x icatio n . In

fa ct, m a n y o f th e C lassic M a y a scenes

re p re s e n t in d iv id u a ls c a v o rtin g , fa llin g , an d e v e n v o m itin g . G iv e n th e su b je ct m a tte r, it is n o t s u rp ris in g th a t m ost o f th e e n e m a scenes a re

n o t on p u b lic m o n u m e n ts b u t

r a th e r on c e ra m ic vessels fo r p e rs o n a l use. O n e n o te w o rth y ex cep tio n occurs a t th e P u u c ruin s

o f R an cho

San D ie g o , close

to

th e

site o f U x m a l. H e r e o n e s tru c tu re o rig in a lly d is p la y e d a t le a s t 14 b a s -r e lie f ca rvings p e r ­ ta in in g to en em as a n d r itu a l in to x icatio n . F o r h ig h la n d M e x ic o , th e r e is no c o n crete e v id e n c e fo r th e use o f a lc o h o lic en em as.

Male selfadministering an enema, stone panel from Rancho San Diego, Yucatán, Terminal Classic Maya.


EXCREMENT H o w e v e r, enem as do a p p e a r to h ave been used fo r cmuNC and ritu a l PURIFICATION. R u iz

8F8

de A larco n records th e fo llo w in g cure fro m th e 17th c. N a h u a tl in h a b ita n ts o f G u e rre ro : if a d iR icu lt c h ild b irth w as b eliev ed to be due to a d u lte ry , th e w om an w o u ld b e ad m in is­ te re d an enem a con tain in g h e r ow n saliva.

fa n M a d e o f fea th e rs or cloth stretched over a bram e, o r o f w o ven re e d , p alm , o r fold ed p a p e r, fans w e re long th o u g h t to be speciRc

excrem ent In C e n tra ! M ex ico , hu m an excre­

id e n tify in g m arkers o f

m en t sym bolized the p o llu tio n and Rlth th a t

n o w recognized th a t tra v e le rs , dancers, and

occurred from sexual transgressions and o th e r

occasionally others also b e a r them . B oth

MERCHANTS,

b u t it is

m isdeeds. Cm t/afV, the N a h u a tl te rm fo r excre­

M a y a and A zte c dancers hold fans, and on

m en t, also bore connotations o f im m o ral and disgusting b eh avior. Thus the te rm c u ii/a -

C lassic M a y a

p o tte ry , G od

N

som etim es

dances w ith a fa n . In th e B onam pak m urals,

coya signiRed to be covered w ith excrem ent

a M a y a no b lew o m an holds a fan o f e ith e r

or to have one's re p u ta tio n stained. In the

fea th e rs o r fo ld ed p a p e r w h ile she w atches a

C e n tra l M exican codices, th e re are scenes o f

scene o f b lo o d le ttin g ; dancers w ith blood

d efecatin g m en eatin g th e ir ow n excrem ent

stream in g fro m th e ir groins in Room 3 o f the

w hich sim ultaneously represent both th e p o l­

m urals c a rry fans w ith bloody h an d p rin ts.

lu tin g in d iv id u al and his self-PumFiCATiON. T h e p rim a ry C e n tra l M exican goddess o f ritu a l

F a t C o d T h e Rgure know n as th e F a t G od is

p u rificatio n was TLAZOLTEOTL, whose nam e

am ong th e m o re curious and least understood

can be glossed as "e a te r o f R lth ." Fecal m a tte r w as not only identiR ed w ith pollution and Rlth. I t is iro n ic th a t c o m , so com m only considered as in co rru p tib le and pure in W estern thought, was described as excrem ent. Thus the N a h u a tl term fo r gold was feo c u ii/a f/, or "godly excrem en t." T h e Yucatec M a y a n term fo r gold was q u ite sim ilar: la M in , or "excrem en t o f the sun." This term has continued today as the com m on Yucatec w ord fo r m oney. execution Execution constituted a public ritu a l even t distinct from H U M A N S A C R IF IC E . In stead o f serving as an o ffering, it was a means o f punishm ent and P U R IF IC A T IO N . Thus there was little interest in extracting B LO O D or H EARTS as offerings and the popular form s o f execution w e re clubbing, stoning, and strangulation. Am ong the m ore common causes o f execution w ere a d u ltery, d runken­ ness, th iev ery , and treason. Am ong the T arascans o f M ichoacán, the conventional m eans o f execution was by b rain in g w ith a large w ooden club; the parents and relatives o f the g u ilty p arty w e re fre q u e n tly also k ille d . In N a h u a tl, the phrase fo r punishm ent was fe t/or "w ood and stone." In fac t, stoning was an especially com m on form o f execution in M esoam erica, and was fre q u e n tly used in cases o f a d u ltery. A t tim es, the C e n tra l M exican god o f stone and castigation, r r z T L A C O L IU H Q U I-IX Q U IM IL L I, is shown w ith a p a ir o f adu lterers k ille d by stoning.

d eities o f a n c ie n t M eso am erica. T h is strange b eing is fou n d in th e Classic p erio d a rt o f T eo tih u ac an , V e ra c ru z, and th e M a y a region. H e is Rrst know n in L a te F o rm a tiv e m on­ u m en tal stone sculpture fro m th e p ied m o n t o f G u a te m ala. A p p e a rin g a t such e a rly sites as M o n te A lto and Santa L e tic ia , th e F a t C o d is rep resen ted as e ith e r a huge p o tb e llie d Rgure o r sim ply a m assive head. In both cases, he appears m uch lik e a b lo ated corpse w ith heavy, sw ollen lids covering his eyes. In th e case o f p o tb e lly sculptures, th e n avel too is o ften la rg e and sw ollen. T h e F a t G od is a com m on c h a ra cter am ong L a te Classic M a y a Rgurines, occasionally occurring also on ceram ic vessels w h e re , lik e the e a rly p ied m o nt sculptures, he is show n w ith shut eyes and a sw ollen b e lly a n d n avel. In tw o cases, he is accom panied b y a h iero g lyp h ic com pound re a d s id a T h e te rm signiRes g lu tto n y in C h oi and excessive desire o r g lu tto n y in Yucatec. T h is possible m eaning o f the F a t G od as an in te m p e ra te g lu tto n m ay explain his fre q u e n t ro le as a dancer or e n te rta in e r in L a te Classic M a y a a rt. H e m ay have been lam pooned as a ritu a l clow n character personifying g lu tto n y and greed, m ajo r subjects o f derision and social condem ­ nation in M esoam erica. See a/so C L O W N S . Rre A ccording to C e n tra l M e x ica n sources, QUETZALCOATL, the g re a t c reato r god, and HurrziLOPOCHTLi, th e A ztec c u lt god, m ade Rre along w ith a fe e b le "h a lf-s u n " th a t shone


87

FIRE

be fo re th e

DAW N

o f th e e r a in w h ic h h u m a n s

live. A cco rd in g to o th e r sources it w a s UPOCA w h o ,

h a v in g c h a n g e d his

TEZCAT-

nam e

to

w as th e Erst to m a k e E re w ith

MMCOATL,

FLLNTs, o r w ith a E re d riH , y ie ld in g a Ăą a m e w h ich th en w as c a rrie d to m a k e g r e a t Eres. To

in itia te

a

new

CALENDAR ro u n d ,

Aztecs c e le b ra te d th e r itu a l o f N e w

th e F ir e ,

perhaps in e m u la tio n o f th ese Erst d rillin g s o f Ere

by

th e

gods.

The

las t

N ew

F ir e

ce rem o n y w as c e le b ra te d d u rin g th e m o n th o f P a n q u e tz a liz tli, a fe w

m o n th s a f te r th e

n e w y e a r o f 2 A c a tl h a d b e g u n in

AD

Penitent devouring his own excrement: note the excrementa! stream pouring towards the moon sign; Codex Borgia, p. 10, Late Postclassic period.

1507. As

p a rt o f w h a t an th ro p o lo g is ts c a ll a TERMINATION RITUAL, a ll pots w e r e sm ash ed a n d n e w ones

w e re p re p a re d fo r th e n e w e ra . A ll Eres w e r e ex tin g u is h ed a n d th e la n d la y in darkness, a w a itin g th e N e w F ir e c e re m o n y th a t conE rm ed an d r e n e w e d co uid

not be

th e n e w y e a r. I f E re

d raw n ,

th e n

th e

TZiTziMiME

w o u ld descend fro m th e h e ave n s to consum e h u m a n k in d . P re g n a n t w o m e n , th o u g h t to b e c o n ta m in a te d , w e r e h id d e n fro m v ie w b e h in d stu ffed sacks o r in sid e g ra n a rie s , a c co rd in g to th e C o d e x B o rbo nicus;

a n y c h ild b o rn in

this p e rio d w o u ld b e s tig m a tiz e d , a n d a ll co m m o n ers s h ie ld e d th e ir faces w it h b lu e m asks.

A t m id n ig h t b e fo re th e Erst d a y o f

Aduiterers suffering execution, one strangled, one stoned; Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 16th c. Aztec.

th e n e w y e a r, on a n e a rb y m o u n ta in c a lle d C itla lte p e c

(" H ill

of

th e

S ta r " ),

PRIESTS

w a tc h e d th e m o v e m e n t o f th e STARS w e cal! th e P le ia d e s a n d w h ic h th e A ztec s k n e w as th e T ia n q u iz tli, or M a r k e t. I f th e y passed o v e rh e a d a t m id n ig h t, th e n th e E re priests p ro c e e d e d : th e y rip p e d o u t th e HEART o f a sacriEcia! v ic tim , u s u ally a c a p tiv e w a r r io r , a n d s ta rte d a E am e w it h a E re d r ill in his o p en

ch est ca v ity .

Y ear

BUNDLES

o f sticks

s y m b o liz in g th e old 5 2 years w e r e th e n set

Late Classic version of the Fat Cod, termed s/dz Mime, or "glutton" in accompanying text; detail of polychrome vase.

a E re. T h e n e w E re g u a ra n te e d th e a r riv a l o f th e m o rn in g suN a n d th e in itia tio n o f a n e w y e a r. x iU H T E C U H T L i

w as th e god o f te rre s tria l Ere.

H is ro le in th e A z te c p a n th e o n m a y h a v e b e e n d im in is h e d b y th e in tro d u c tio n o f H u it zilo p o c h tli, w h ose c u lt en com passed sun an d E re.

HUEHUETEO TL

w as th e o ld god o f E re,

u s u ally o f th e h e a rth . B asic a lly a dom estic god a n d k e p t in ho u s eh o ld sh rin es, h e - a lo n g w ith

TLALOC

- is a god o f g re a t a n tiq u ity , an d

his im a g e w as m a d e w it h lit tle ch an g e fro m E a r ly C lassic to L a te

Postclassic tim es in

C e n tra ! M e x ic o . H e w e a rs a E re b ra z ie r on his h e a d ,

w h ose

rim

is m a rk e d w it h

rh o m b o id sym bol fo r E re used a t The

x iU H C O A T L ,

th e

T E O T iH U A C A N .

o r E re s e rp e n t, be ars th e sun

The drilling of new Ere upon the navel of Xiuhtecuhtli, Codex Borgia, p. 46, Late Postclassic period. During the Aztec New Fire ceremonies, Ere was drilled on the chest of a sacriEced captive who had the word jaTund in his actual name.


on

FIVE SUNS through th e SKY; it is also the w eapon c a rrie d

lan d ed in cmcoMozToc, yield in g 1600 terres­

by H u itziio p o c h th . A m ong th e M a y a , TOHiL

tria l gods. C h ac usually carries a personiBed

is the god o f Bre in the POPOL vuH. G od K

B in t in his h an d , b u t som etim es he is h im self

(P alen q u e T ria d C II; see PALENQUE TRIAD coos)

a personiB ed B int. A m ong the A ztecs, Bint

m ay have been a Classic god o f Ere. M eso am erican peoples recognized Bre as

blades a re also personiB ed, fre q u e n tly w ith an open, g n aw in g m o u th , in d ic atin g th e ir

the

fu n d am en tal catalyst o f change. T h e

a b ility to te a r Besh. rrzTLACOLiUHQUi-ixQUiMiLLi,

Aztecs b eliev ed th a t th e c u rre n t sun and

god o f castig atio n, m ay be a personiBed B int.

MOON cam e in to existence w h en tw o gods,

F lin t w as w id e ly recognized as a day sign:

T ecu ciztecat! and N a n a h u a tzin , im m o lated

as T e c p a tl am ong the A ztecs and E d zn ab

them selves in a g re at Bre a t T eo tih u ac an .

am ong th e M a y a , fo r exam ple. T e c p a tl was

F o r the M a y a , as fo r o th e r M eso am erican

one o f th e fo u r A zte c

peoples, Bre was a w ay to com m unicate

corresponding to the n o rth , and th e TRECENA 1

Y EAHBEARER

day signs,

w ith gods and ancestors. O fferin g s, fre q u e n tly

T e c p a tl w as p resided o ver by C h a lc h iu to to lin ,

b lo od-spattered

T E Z C A T L iP O C A

PAPER,

w e re set on Bre in

b raziers, and in the b illo w in g sm oke, the M a y a conjured up th e ir gods and ancestors. T h e Aztecs also used the m etap h or w a te r-

in

th e fo rm

o f a b lu e -g re en

tu rk e y . T h e usual, iconic fo rm o f th e M a y a day

sign

bears

the

sam e

B int

m arkings

d ep icted on M a y a w eap o n ry.

Bre, ATL-TLACHfNOLLi, to m ean w a rfa re . Bowers

F lo w e rs

F iv e Suns T h e F iv e Suns constitute the Bve

m eaning

eras or w orlds o f A ztec m ythology, including the present sun o f N ah u i O llin , or 4 M o tio n . Each o f the four previous suns is identiB ed

A ztec

w ith a p a rtic u la r god and race o f people, the gen erally accepted ord er o f the fou r e a rlie r suns running as follow s: N ah u i O celo tl (4 Jaguar), N ah u i E hecatl (4 W in d ), N ah u i Q u ia h u itl (4 R ain) and N ah u i A tl (4 W a te r). F o llo w in g the m aking o f the present people and th e ir corn, the Bfth sun was created a t T E O T IH U A C A N . ^ e e a / s o C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS .

Bint Tougher and m ore du rab le than O B SiD Bint was universally used to strike F IR E in the N e w W o rld . I t easily yields sparks, and the rock its e lf sm ells o f smoke a fte r use. I t is a B ne-granular q u artz w hich abounds in the M a y a low lands. As the p rim a ry means o f striking Bre, B int was o f in estim able use to hum ankind and was thus personiBed and deiEed; it was also a sym bol o f H U M A N S A C R IF IC E and the d eb t ow ed by hu m an ity to the C O D S. SacriBcial blades everyw h ere w e re m ade o f B int and obsidian, and are often depicted a t the joints o f A ztec deities. Gods and PRIESTS bear Bint knives in hand, freq u e n tly p ain ted w h ite and red. In M esoam erican thought, B int and obsid­ ian w e re both created w h ere ligh tn in g strikes. C H A C and T L A L O C , respectively the M a y a and C e n tra l M exican hurlers o f thunderbolts, w e re thus the creators o f these valued m aterials. According to one A ztec version, C itla lic u e (She o f the Star S kirt) gave b irth to B int, and then h u rled it to e arth , w h ere it IA N ,

w ith

in

deities them :

h eld

an c ie n t h ave

ric h

m etap h orical

M eso am erica.

T h re e

p a rtic u la r connections

xocHiPiLH,

MACuiLXOCHiTL,

and

xocHiQUETZAL, a ll o f w hom serve as patrons o f

b eau ty, p leasu re, and th e arts. F lo w e rs w e re v iew ed as sacriB cial o fferings, and according to some stories, QUETZALCOATL le d his people to oBer Bowers and BUTTERFLIES in lie u o f hum an Besh. F lo w ers w e re o ffe red on m any occasions: a t th e b eg inning o f the cele b ratio n o f th e VEINTENA T la c a x ip e h u a liztli, fo r exam ­ p le , a fe s tiv a l o f Brst Bowers w as h eld in honor o f xiPE TOTEC. in jro c /u i/ n i cuica w as a N a h u a tl c%&asfsmo, or m etap h orical lin k in g o f tw o p h en ­ om ena in C e n tra l M e x ic a n h ie rarc h ic and p rie stly address, lite ra lly m eaning Bowers and song b u t re fe rrin g to a ll a rtis tic endeavors and p a rtic u la rly p o etry. A n o th e r A zte c term in co rp oratin g Bowers was xociuyacyof/, lite r­ a lly " w a r o f B o w e rs /* it refers to th e p ractice o f a p a rtic u la r typ e o f w a r in C e n tra l M exico carried out by th e A ztecs fro m m id -1 5 th c. on, in w h ich b a ttle w as c arried o u t speciBcally to cap ture sacriBcial victim s fro m nearby, in d ep en d en t p o lities. Cem poahroc/Mt/, or m arigolds, w e re ancien t offerings to the dead and a re s till a p rim a ry o fferin g on the D a y o f the D e a d , 1 N ovem ber, A ll Souls* D a y . Some b eliev e th a t the C en tra! M exican goddess C O Y O L X A U H Q U I w ears a large m arigold on h e r head, and d u rin g the vein­ tena celebrations o f T e c u ilh u ito n tli, w om en danced tog eth er, hold in g m arigolds. In the PO PO L v u H , m arigolds and y a rro w a re burned together, as a sim ple o ffering. OVo/mhgui,


89

CODS

m orning glories, w e re valu ed fo r the h a llu c i­ nogenic properties o f th e ir seeds, and D u ra n describes th e ir consum ption d u rin g feasts to (see HALLU CINO GENS). In th e a rt o f Classic TEOTiHUACAN m any v arie ties o f Rowers are depicted. TEZCATLIPOCA

Dancers in celeb ratio n o f vein ten a festivals freq u ently c arried or w o re Rowers and som e­ times d istrib uted them to o th e r p articip ants or observers. In th e celeb ratio n o f T o xcatl, the Tezcatlipoca im personator c a rrie d Rowers in his hand. In palace scenes w ith o u t obvious sacriRcial overtones, M a y a kings and nobles also carry sm all bouquets o f Rowers for sniRing. M a y a JADES, p a rtic u la rly those w orn as h a ir ornam ents, w e re o fte n m ade in the fo u r-p etal shape ch aracteristic o f Rowers.

The Aztec Calendar Stone with the Bve suns of creation, Late Postclassic period. gods T h e re has been considerable debate concerning th e concept o f gods and d iv in ity in ancien t M esoam erica. T h e 16th c. Spanish chronicles m ake fre q u e n t and d ire c t re fe r­ ences to dioses, or "gods." H o w ev er, it has been ju s tly noted th a t E uropean term inology m ay have grossly sim pliRed com plex concepts o f sacredness and d iv in ity . Am ong the 16th c. Zapotees, the term p ee, signifying "b re a th , s p irit, or w iN D , " expressed the concept o f d iv in ity . T h is anim istic force caused m ove­ m en t - a ll phenom ena or m a te rn al things th a t expresed m otion w e re a ttrib u te d a certain degree o f sacredness. Am ong the A ztecs, the term fo r sacredness was feo d w hich, lik e the Zapotee p ee, re fe rre d to an im m a te ria l energy or force sim ilar to the Polynesian concept o f m ana. In M a y a n languages, An or cA'u m eans sacredness. A ltho u g h M esoam erican peoples d id pos­ sess concepts o f anim istic forces, they also b elieved in speciRc gods, th a t is, an im ate, personiRed beings w ith th e ir ow n d istinct m yth ical cycles. Thus in M a y a n languages and the N a h u a tl tongue o f the Aztecs the term s fo r sacredness could also re fe r to spec­ iRc gods. In the case o f th e Classic period Zapotees, anthropom orphic gods a re com ­ m only ren dered on ceram ic urns. A lthough it ^ has been recen tly argued th a t these im ages rep resen t ancestors ra th e r than gods, this is u n lik ely. T h e w idespread n atu re and continu­ ity o f certain o f the characters, some lasting over a 1000 years, m ake it u n lik e ly th a t these

Eccentric Rint from Quiriguá, Guatem ala, Late Classic M aya.


90

COLD a re o n ly h isto rical Bgures. N onetheless, it

this E a rly C o lo n ial cache contained roughly

does a p p ear th a t, lik e th e M ix te e gods, Z ap o ­

6 kilos o f gold, m uch o f it in the form o f P reh isp an ic A zte c je w e lry .

tee gods a re o fte n id e n tiS ed as th e id e a lize d ancestors o f p a rtic u la rly im p o rta n t lineages, gold C o ld , o r feo e m t/a i/, lite ra lly EXCREMENT o f th e gods, was a precious m a te ria l to the A ztecs, although not so im p o rta n t as JADE o r tro p ica l b ird feath ers. M o tecu h zo m a n collected ab o u t tw o tons o f gold a y e a r in

hacha AfacAa, th e

trib u te . So little w o rked gold survived th e

g e n e ra lly re fers in M eso am erican ritu a l to a

Spanish

w ord

fo r axe,

C onquest th a t it is now d iiB cu lt to reconstruct

piece o f BALLCAME e q u ip m en t, ra th e r th an an

exactly fo r w hich ritu a l objects it w as m ost

axe. D a tin g fro m th e C lassic p erio d , m ost

used, b u t w hen A lb re c h t D ü re r v ie w e d in

com e fro m V e ra c ru z and the P acific slopes

Brussels the objects th a t C ortés had shipped

o f G u a te m a la . E a rly AacAas a re fre q u e n tly

back to K in g C harles V in 1520, he described

heads, perhaps

a SUN m ade e n tire ly o f gold, a fath o m w id e ,

n a rro w e r and o ften in c o rp o rate b ird feath ers.

TROPHY HEADS;

la te r ones are

and a MOON o f silver, o f the sam e size. Because

M o s t AacAa.shave a ten o n ; although g e n e ra lly

gold was recognized to be a product o f the

thought o f as e q u ip m en t fo r p la y, som e m ay

sun, solar gods w ere associated w ith

the

have been designed fo r a rc h ite c tu ra l p lace­

m a te ria !,

the

m en t.

p articu !ar!y

H u r r z iL O P O C H T L i,

A ztec sun god, w ho w ore a gold headband. C o ld was also fashioned in to JEWELRY fo r the n o b ility , p a rtic u la rly for nose ornam ents and

hallucinogens H allu cin o g ens p layed and con­

lip labrets. G oldw orkers, or feocm f/aA uague, honored X !P E T O T E C as th e ir patron and m ade offerings a t his tem p le, Yopico. G oldsm iths held high status and w e re recognized as craftspeople, or fo/feca, a term th a t had lost its ethnic associations w ith T u la , H id alg o , by the tim e o f the Conquest. G o ldw orking arriv ed la te in M exico and C e n tra l A m erica. In v e n te d m illen n ia before in South A m erica, w orked objects o f gold turn up in the M a y a region no e a rlie r than the 8th c. A D . M e ta llu rg y took hold du rin g the T o ltec e ra in M esoam erica, and dozens o f gold objects w e re th row n in to the Sacred C E N O T E a t C hichen Itz á . D u rin g the L a te Postclassic, the M ixtees c arried out th e m ost sophisticated m etallu rg y in M esoam erica, p erfectin g the techniques o f lost-w ax casting and filig re e, w h ile continuing also to use the sim pler ham m ering and repoussé. In 1932, M exican archaeologist Alfonso Caso excavated T om b 7 a t M o n te A lb án and found th a t the M ixtees had reused old Zapotee TO M B S to b ury th e ir kings in the centuries before the Spanish Conquest. T om b 7 contained the largest surviving single depo­ sit o f P recolum bian gold, along w ith rock crystal, cave onyx, TU R Q U O IS E , and bone. In 1975, a m ajor cache was discovered by a fisherm an n ear the m odern c ity o f V eracru z. K now n as the T reasure o f the F isherm an,

ican religious life . T h e y have been used fo r com m union w ith th e C O D S and ancestors,

tin u e to p lay an im p o rta n t ro le in M es o am e r­

D iv iN A T iO N ,

personal visions and self-kn o w ­

ledge, and as a source o f p leasure and e n te r­ tain m e n t. Some scholars have suggested th a t the F o rm a tiv e O lm ec used b u fo ten in e , a hallucinogen d e riv e d fro m m a r in e , a large lo w lan d T O A D . A lth o u g h this is s till u n certain , representations o f toads a re w id e ­ spread in the F o rm a tiv e and L a te Preclassic a rt o f southern M eso am erica, and th e p aro toid glands fro m w h ich b u fo ten in e is excreted a re p ro m in e n tly fe a tu re d on them . Psilocybin m ushroom s (A^f/ocyAe m exi­ cana) m ay also have been used d u rin g the L a te Preclassic p erio d . Sm all stone sculptures in the fo rm o f m ushroom s have been found a t K am in alju y ú and o th e r L a te Preclassic sites o f th e M a y a highlands and Pacific p iedm ont. A ltho u g h the resem blance o f these carvings to mushroom s m ay be fo rtu ito u s, th ey are fre q u e n tly found in association w ith sm all g rin d in g stones - am ong contem porary M ix ­ tees o f O axaca, the hallucinogenic mushroom s a re firs t p u lv erize d on g rin d in g stones before being ingested. T h e use o f psilocybin m ushroom s is w e ll docum ented fo r L a te Postclassic highland M exico . Page 24 o f th e Prehispanic M ix te e Codex Vindobonensis contains a scene illu s­ tra tin g the o rig in and use o f th e sacred m ushroom : 9 W in d , th e M ix te e form o f


91

HEARTS

EHECATL, is shown brin g in g th e mushroom s to the gods, and 7 F lo w e r, the m ost p ro m in en t o f them , weeps. T h e mushroom s are personified b y two supernatural w om en, 4 L iza rd and 11 L izard . D u rin g the night banquets sponsored b y successful A ztec M E R C H A N T S , p articip ants ate psilocybin w ith honey. T h e m erchants

w ould freq u e n tly cry from the h allucinations, which w ere regarded as portents o f fu tu re events. A nother im p o rtan t hallucinogen was m orn­ ing glory seed (T u rb in a corym bosa), know n as o/obubqruj in N a h u a tl. D e ta ile d accounts of o/obubqtn and its use in d iv in atio n appear in the C o lo n ial treatise o f R uiz de A larcon. T aken a t n ight by special p ractitio n ers, the seeds w e re used to d ete rm in e sources o f sickness, find thieves, and discover lost objects or people. T h e o/obubgui was considered to be an actual god th a t could com m unicate w ith the p ractitio n er through visions. As a god, the o/obuhgtn was trea te d w ith trem en d ­ ous ven eratio n and respect, and was cared for in sm all baskets passed dow n through generations o f diviners.

The preparation of gold, Florentine Codex, Book 9, 16th c. Aztec.

A sm all, spineless cactus, peyote (Lo p b o pbora wiVbamsn) is n ative to the deserts o f n o rthern M exico, b u t was w id e ly trad ed in ancient tim es. R uiz de A larcon notes its use in 17th c. G u e rrero , a region fa r rem oved from its n atu ra l environm ent. A N ah u a tl term , peyote is w e ll docum ented fo r the 16th c. Aztecs. A long w ith psilocybin and the p o ten t jim son w eed (D a fu ra spp.), it is described as a fev er m edicine in the A ztec F lo re n tin e Codex. E a rly representations m ay appear in the Protoclassic ceram ic a rt o f W est M exico. I t is still used am ong the H u ich o l, C o ra, T arah u m ara, and other peoples o f n o rthw est M exico. hearts M esoam erican peoples valued hearts as sacrificial offerings. T h e y recognized the h e a rt as the v ita l organ o f the body and as such, it was food fo r the C O D S. A t the tim e o f the Conquest, the s till-b e a tin g hum an h eart was the suprem e o ffering, p a rtic u la rly to the

Stone hachas commonly appear in the form of heads, suggesting a possible symbolic origin as trophy heads associated with the ballgame, Classic Veracruz.

God 7 Flower eating hallucinogenic mushrooms while listening to music played by 9 Wind; Codex Vindobonensis, p. 24, Late Postclassic Mixtee.

SUN and to solar deities. A lthough long thought to have been a p u rely Postclassic C en tra! M exican phenom enon, h e a rt sacrifice can now be id e n tifie d to have taken place w id e ly in M esoam erica from Classic tim es onw ard #and perhaps even e a rlie r, although there is no clear O lm ec evidence. T h e hum an h e a rt is o fte n depicted in M esoam erican a rt as a trilo b e d organ, fre -

Pumas tearing the heart out of a deer, mural from Techinantitla, Teotihuacan, Late Classic period. Sacrificial hearts are commonly depicted in the art of Teotihuacan.


wz

HERO TWINS q u e n tly w ith d ro p lets fa llin g fro m it. T h e

H u eh u ec o yo tl T h e A zte c god o f DAMcn, M in e ,

m ost e x p lic it evid en ce th a t th e trilo b e /s the

and c a rn a lity , H u eh u eco yo tl ("o ld coyo te")

hum an h e a rt comes fro m th e b a ttle p a in tin g

w as a p atro n d e ity o f fe a th e rw o rk ers and

a t C acaxtla, w h e re the trilo b e d sym bol its e lf

p resided o ver th e TRECENA 1 F lo w e r, a 13-day

oozes fro m the chest cavity o f a fa lle n w a rrio r.

p erio d d ed icated to th e a rtis t and artisan.

A t TEoriHUACAN, w h e re th e sym bol appears

M e n born in this p erio d w ould be singers,

fro m

E a rly C lassic tim es o n w a rd , p a in te d

s to ry te lle rs, and craftsm en, b u t they w ould

friezes o f a lte rn a tin g JAGUARS and coyotes

also be p ro n e to overin d u lg ence - and thus

d ep ict hearts in fro n t o f th e ir open m ouths.

to a decayin g o f the genitals and a w asting

In the T e c h in a n titla paintings a t T eo tih u ac an ,

o f th e Resh. W o m en b o m

felin es te a r out th e h e a rt o f a DEER. W a rrio rs

w o u ld m ake- Rne e m b ro id ery , b u t if they

in the trecena

w ith goggle masks b ear trilo b e d hearts on the

fa ile d to b e p e n ite n t, th e y w o u ld easily fa ll

ends o f staffs and w e a r them , usually in row s

p re y to th e ir ow n sexual a llu re and becom e

o f th ree , above the b rim o f th e ir headdresses.

h arlots o r courtesans. A lth o u g h in fre q u e n tly

A ltho u g h most representations o f Classic

d ep icted , w h en H u eh u eco yo tl is rep resen ted ,

M a y a HUMAN SACRIFICE fe a tu re d ec ap ita tio n ,

he u su ally appears w ith th e body o f a hum an

h e a rt extrusion is fe a tu re d from tim e to tim e ,

and th e head o f a coyote.

as in the B onam pak m urals. In V eracru z, h e a rt sacrifice follow s p lay o f the BALLCAME,

H u e h u e te o tl w as the O ld G od o f the Aztecs,

am ong o th e r occasions. L a te r, a t C hichen

and in d eed he w as o f g re a t a n tiq u ity , w ith a

ltz á , hearts w ere the fea tu re d offerings, and

stan dard ized re p res en tatio n con tin u in g w ith

it m ay have been in T o ltec tim es th a t hearts

little change fro m M id d le F o rm a tiv e tim es

becam e the single most im p o rtan t hum an

on. A sim ple version o f a H u e h u e te o tl INCENSE

sacrifice. As depicted on a ham m ered COLD disk from the Sacred CENOTE a t C hichen, fo u r assistants hold dow n the extrem ities o f a victim w h ile a PRIEST or w a rrio r rem oves the h e a rt w ith a hafted H int blade under the w a tc h fu l eye o f a cloud serpent, to w hom the offering m ay be m ade. T h e WARRIOR ORDERS o f the T o ltec era, id e n tifie d w ith EACLEs, jaguars, and coyotes, a ll took on associations w ith h e a rt sacrifice. In no ancient c iviliza tio n o f the N e w W o rld w e re hearts so im p o rtan t as am ong the Aztecs. Special receptacles fo r hum an hearts, know n as c u A U H x i C A L L i s , w e re m ade on a large and som etim es colossal scale, and incorpor­ ated in to o th er sacrificial sculptures, such as C H A C M O O L S . H earts w e re w o rn as necklaces or skirts by earth goddesses, p a rtic u la rly c o A T L ic u E and T L A L T E C U H T L i , w ho in some representations w ore necklaces o f a lte rn atin g hum an hands and hearts. M o st A ztec agricu l­ tu ra l festivals fea tu re d hum an sacrifice by h e a rt extrusion including, fo r exam ple, rituals in honor o f x i P E T O T E C , the Rayed god, w h ere h e a rt sacriRce preceded th e actual Raying. T h e Aztecs re fe rre d to sacriRced hearts m etaphorically as "precious eagle-cactus fru it," and cactus fru its m ay som etim es be d epicted as a visual m etaphor w hen hum an hearts are the reference. H e ro T w in s see CREATION ACCOUNTS; POPOL vuH ; TWINS

b u rn e r has re c e n tly been found in a M id d le F o rm a tiv e context in T la xc ala . A ltho u g h m ost re v e re d and honored in C e n tra l M ex ico , H u e h u e te o tl im ages have been recovered fro m W e s t M ex ico , V e ra cru z, Protoclassic K am in a lju y u and L a te Post­ classic Y ucatán; no rep res en tatio n o f h im has been found a t a C lassic M a y a site. A t M o n te A lb án , a re la te d old god bore the Z apotee calen d rical nam e 2 T ig e r, b u t no clea r id e n tiRcation can be m ade w ith any aged M a y a gods. U n lik e m ost o th e r gods o f M eso am erica, H u e h u e te o tl seems to h ave been p rim a rily a household d e ity , and as th e fu n d a m en tal god o f the h e a rth , his im ages usually tu rn up in re sid e n tial q u arters ra th e r than in TEMPLE precincts. In his standard re p res en tatio n as a stone sculpture, H u e h u e te o tl is a seated Rgure, legs crossed in fro n t o f h im , w ith both hands resting on his knees. H is rig h t hand is palm up and his le ft is clenched as if it once h eld a ban n er. H e hunches o ver, w ith the curved spine o f age, and his face is usually h eavily w rin k le d . H um ans a re not com m only shown to age in M eso am erican a rt and v ery fe w gods a re d epicted as aged e ith e r. A lthough ra re ly toothless, H u e h u e te o tl is o fte n reduced to only tw o lo w e r tee th . O n his head he usually w ears a huge b ra zie r, its rim m arked w ith rhom boid lozenges, sym bolic o f FIRE at TEOTIHUACAN. T h e b ra zie r its e lf m ay have held sm oldering coals or incense. A fe w ceram ic


93

HU1TZILOPOCHTLP

exam pies a re k n o w n , m o st n o ta b ly th e E a r ly Classic H u e h u e te o tl fro m C e r ro d e las M e s a s . A n A z te c e x a m p le co n flates TLALOC, th e ra in god, w ith H u e h u e te o tl, p e rh a p s in re p re s e n ­ tation o f th e A z te c m e ta p h o r fo r w a r a n d co nflagration, ATL-TLACHINOLLI. H u itz ilo p o c h tli w as th e s u p re m e d e ity o f th e A ztecs, th e ir c h ie f c u lt god. A sso cia ted w ith suN an d

FIRE a n d

in tro d u c tio n

to

th e

C e n tra l

ru lin g

lin e a g e ,

M e x ic o

his

d is ru p te d

o th e r es tab lish ed solar gods a n d p a tro n s o f lo n g -sta n d in g

lin eag es,

cuH Tu a n d TONATiuH. I n

p a rtic u la rly

xiUHTE-

som e sources h e

is also id e n tifie d as th e B lu e TEZCATLiPOCA. L ite r a lly ,

H u itz ilo p o c h tli m e a n s "HUMMING­

BIRD on th e le ft* ' o r " h u m m in g b ir d o f th e s o u th ." T h e S p an iard s c a lle d h im H u ic h ilo b o s an d s a w h im as th e d e v il in c a rn a te , th e cause o f h e a r t sacrifice (s ee HEARTS), th e source o f p e rv e rs io n in th e N e w W o r ld . U n lik e m ost A z te c gods, H u itz ilo p o c h tli's im a g e w as g e n ­ e ra lly re n d e re d o f w o o d , r a th e r th a n stone, an d

no

s u rv iv e -

m o n u m e n ta l

ex am p les

of

h im

in d e e d , fe w exam p les s u rv ive in

a n y m e d iu m . T h e m a in s c u lp tu re o f H u it z ilo ­ p o c h tli w as p ro b a b ly re m o v e d fro m his TEMPLE in 1520 a n d sm ug gled o u t o f T e n o c h titla n . A

d o c u m e n t o f 15 39 depicts th e b u n d le d

H u itz ilo p o c h tli s c u lp tu re a fte r it w a s r e p u t­ e d ly re m o v e d . W h a t d id H u itz ilo p o c h tli lo ok like? A c c o rd ­ in g to m ost accounts a n d to a n e a rly postC o n q u e s t illu s tra tio n , h e w o re on his h e a d a b lu e -g re e n h u m m in g b ird h e add ress, a go ld e n tia ra , w h ite h e ro n fe a th e rs , a n d th e sm oking m irr o r m o re c o m m o n ly associated w it h T e z c a tlip o c a a n d p ro b a b ly a d o p te d fro m h im as is th e s e rp e n t fo o t th a t th e A z te c TLATOANi in co rp o ra tes in to his H u itz ilo p o c h tli costum e on th e S ton e o f T iz o c . H is fa c e o fte n bears y e llo w a n d b lu e s trip e d p a in t, a n d a black m ask d o tte d w it h STARS surrounds his eyes. F r e q u e n tly a d o rn e d w it h PAPER b a n n ers an d so m e tim es w it h sh ield a n d d a rts in h a n d , h e u s u a lly ca rries th e xiUHCOATL, o r fire se rp en t. As

th e c h ie f A z te c god,

H u itz ilo p o c h tli

o ccup ied th e m ost p r o m in e n t site w ith in th e te m p le p re c in c t o f T e n o c h titla n . H is te m p le , to g e th e r w it h th a t o f TLALOC, fo rm e d w h a t th e A ztec s c a lle d th e H u e te o c a lli, th e G r e a t T e m p le , a d o u b le p y ra m id . A c c o rd in g to one ^account, T la lo c h a d risen fro m a s p rin g to w e lc o m e H u itz ilo p o c h tli w h e n th e A ztecs Red th e m a in la n d a n d a r riv e d o n th e islan d in th e m id d le o f L a k e T e xco co in

1345. P e rh a p s

Huehuecoyotl dancing, Codex Borbonicus, p. 4, 16th c. Aztec. Huehueteot!, the Aztec Old God, stone sculpture from the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan.


HUITZÍLOPOCHTL! the very oldest god in the C e n tra l M e x ic a n

pregnancy becam e a source o f h u m iliatio n tr

p an th eo n , T la lo c o ffe red le g itim ac y and his­

h e r c h ild re n , and th e y p lo tte d to kit! her.

tory to H u itzilo p o c h tli. T o g e th e r, th e y also

B u t fro m w ith in th e w om b, H u itzilo p o c h tli

suggested ATL TLACHrsoLU, o r E re -a n d -w a te r,

com fo rted h er. T h e C en tzo n H u itzn a h u a and

the A ztec m etap h or fo r w a r. H u itzilo p o c h tli

C o yolxauhqui charged C oatepec, slicing o fl

led the A ztecs in w a r and in

C o atlic u e's h ead . O u t o f h e r tru n cated body

H u itzilo p o c h tli's

H U M A N S A C R IF IC E .

geographical

origins

rem ain obscure, b u t according to A zte c m ig ra ­

le a p t

H u itzilo p o c h tli,

dressed,

b rand ish in g

fu lly his

form ed

and

X iu h c o atl,

w ith

tion legends, he led his p eople on a jo u rn e y

w h ich h e in tu rn dism em bered his sister

for generations, com m anding them Erst to

C o yo lxau h q u i, w hose body parts tum bled to

leave th e ir island hom e,

AZTLAN,

in th e e a rly

th e foo t o f C oatepec. H u itzilo p o c h tli then

12th c. and to seek out a n ew island in a lake.

a ttacked his h a lf-b ro th e rs , only a fe w

D iv id e d in to seven trib es, the Aztecs soon

w hom m anaged to Eee. G en eratio n s la te r, the A ztecs w ould re p ro ­

g ath ered

at

C H icoM O Zioc,

the

legendary

of

fo r a ll C e n tra ! M ex ica n

duce C o atep ec in the T e m p le o f H u itz ilo ­

peoples, and w h e re th ey, too, sojourned a

p o ch tli a t T e n o c h titla n . G re a t serpents Bowed

w h ile , b efo re beginning th e ir w anderings again. H e re a t C hicom oztoc, H u itzilo p o c h tli's

dow n

source o f o rigin

th e

balustrades

w h ile

th e

w ooden

sculpture o f H u itzilo p o c h tli reig n ed from the

sister, M a iin a lx o c h itl (w hose pow ers over

shrine a t the top - p ro b ab ly in the com pany

SPIDERS,

o f th e im age o f his d ec ap ita te d m o th e r - and

scorpions,

and

snakes

recall

the

pow ers held by the p rin cip al fem ale goddess

the d ism em b ered C o yolxauhqui la y a t the

o f TEOTinuACAN) had gained follow ers, and m any Aztecs had grow n accustom ed to c iv i­

base o f the p y ra m id , h er im ag e carved on the

lized life . W hen a tree sp lit in tw o H u itz ilo ­ pochtli in te rp re te d it as a sign to lead the virtuous aw ay, leaving the rest behind. A t this p oint, religion and history in te rtw in e , and the story o f a schism am ong the tribes probably reflects a historical re a lity in w hich the group did d ivid e. Those le ft w ith M a linalxochitl eventu ally cam e to settle a t M a linalco, to the w est o f T en o c h titla n , and M a linalxochitl's son, C o pil, w ould la te r a tte m p t to avenge his m other's abandonm ent. H u itzilo p o c h tli m ean w h ile led his people on to C O A TE P E C , H ill o f the Serpent, w h ere his m iraculous b irth - or w h a t w e should call a re b irth - then took place. I t m ay also have been a t this ju n c tu re th a t a livin g ru le r, H u itzilo p o c h tli, was transform ed into the new cult d eity. O ne o f the g re at m ountains o f A ztec legend, C oatepec was near T u la (see TOLLAN); the Aztecs celeb rated a N e w F ire C erem ony there in 1163, ju s t about the tim e o f the dem ise and abandonm ent o f T u la - a coincidence suggesting th a t the nom adic and aggressive Aztecs m ay have played a role in its d o w n fall. A t C oatepec, the goddess coATucuE kep t and sw ept the tem ple. O ne day, as she sw ept, she tucked a tu ft o f feathers in h er breast, b u t w hen she had com pleted h er task, the feathers w ere gone and she knew she had becom e pregnant. A lre ad y the m other o f 400 sons (know n as the C entzon H u itzn a h u a) and a d aughter, c o Y O L X A U H Q U i, C oatlicue and h er

surface o f a round stone. W h e n bodies w ere tum bled dow n the steps, e ve ry hum an sacri­ fice recre ated C o yolxauhqui s fa ll and p ublic h u m ilia tio n . C oyolxauhqui m ay w e ll h ave belonged to a group o f o ld e r fe rtility goddesses in C e n tra l M ex ico , and h er destru ctio n reveals th e rise o f H u itzilo p o c h tli's c u lt. O fte n id e n tifie d w ith the M O O N , C oyolxauhqui is in this aspect also destroyed b y the solar H u itzilo p o c h tli; in fac t, the round C o yolxauhqui stone a t the T e m p le o f H u itzilo p o c h tli is p e rio d ic a lly sliced by the sun, as if to re p lic a te ongoing solar dom inance. T h e C en tzo n H u itzn a h u a can be id e n tifie d w ith in n u m e rab le stars, also chased to the south b y th e solar H u itzilo p o c h tli. A lthough o fte n considered to be one o f the y o u th fu l goddesses, a t th e T e m p le o f H u itz ilo ­ p ochtli, C oyolxauhqui is ren d e re d as an o ld er w om an, w ith sagging breasts and stretched stom ach; th e g re a t C o atlicu e sculpture (w h ich m ay o r m ay n o t have been in the shrine o f H u itzilo p o c h tli above), has also lost a ll trace o f fe m in in e b eau ty. In H u itzilo p o ch ­ tli's com pany, fem a le goddesses becom e h id ­ eous, subjects fo r d ism em berm ent. In th e story o f A ztec p e reg rin a tio n , H u itz i­ lopochtli led his people on fro m C oatepec in to the V a lle y o f M exico , w h e re they w ere settled a t C h ap u ltep ec by the end o f the 13th c. G e n e ra lly unw elcom ed in th e V a lle y , H u itzilo p o c h tli's p eople soon found them ­ selves a t w a r w ith th e ir neighbors, led by C o p il, th e son o f M a iin a lx o c h itl, the b etrayed


95

HUITZILOPOCHTH

sister o f H u itzilo p o ch tli ie ft b eh ind a t C h icomoztoc. C opil's troops w on the b a ttle , b u t Copil him self fe ll and w as sacrificed by H u itzilopochtli, w ho then took C o p il's h e a rt and hurled it onto a rock in L a k e Texcoco, giving rise to the very island on w hich the Aztecs would la te r found th e ir city. W ith in a fe w years, the Aztecs w e re forced to leave C hapultepec, and H u itzilo p o c h tli led them on to C ulhuacan, on the o th er side o f the lake, w h ere they w e re little m ore than slaves to the old T o ltec n o b ility th a t ru led there. C om pelled to liv e on th e desolate lava beds a t T iza p a n , the Aztecs w orked as m ercenaries fo r the lords o f C ulhuacan and, against the odds, th rive d . H u itzilo p o c h tli saw that his people had not y e t a rriv e d a t the prom ised destination, and th a t th e ir success in T iza p an offered them too m uch com fort. H e told the trib a l leaders th e re fo re to ask the lords o f C ulhuacan fo r a noble b rid e ; fearin g the Aztecs, the lords com plied. W h e n the princess was d elive re d , the Aztecs im m ed i­ ate ly Hayed h er, and a p riest p u t on h e r skin. W h en the C u lh u a cam e to celeb rate the a rriv a l o f a new goddess am ong the Aztecs, they found instead the p riest w earin g the princess's skin. W ild ly incensed by this barbarism , the C u lh u a set upon the Aztecs, k illin g some and d rivin g others in to the lake. T h e survivors took refuge on the island th e re , w h e re they found an eagle sitting on a cactus grow ing from a rock, the very im age H u itz ilo ­ pochtli had told them to seek generations before. T h e w anderings o f H u itzilo p o ch tli and his people cam e to an end, according to m ost sources, in 1345 w ith the founding o f T en o c h titla n . C elebrations in honor o f H u itzilo p o ch tli dom inated the religious cerem onies o f T e ­ n o ch titlan , and he fre q u e n tly took a role in festivities dedicated to o th er gods. O utside T e n o c h titla n , T ezcatlipoca m ay have been the most im p o rtan t god, and the tw o w ere often honored together in T en o c h titla n . Thus, d u ring To xcatl, the VEINTENA d edicated to T ezcatlipo ca, H u itzilo p o c h tli played a p ro m i­ nen t ro le, and during P a n q u e tza liztli, the

Huitzilopochtli wielding the Xiuhcoatl Hre serpent, Codex Borbonicus, p. 34, 16th c. Aztec

veinfena dedicated to H u itzilo p o c h tli, T e zc a t­ lipoca was also p ro p itiate d . U n lik e most A ztec gods, H u itzilo p o c h tli had a stan d-in , not ju s t an im personator, du rin g m any actual fe s tivi­ ties. K now n as P ain al, the substitute w ore H u itzilo p o ch tli's attrib u te s and m ay be seen as ano th er aspect o f his ow n num en. D u rin g T o xcatl, a g re at AMARANTH dough

Huitzilopochtli in his temple, Codex Azcatitlan, 16th c. Aztec.


HUMAN SACRIFICE was o u tB tted w ith H u itz ilo -

exaggerated its p re va len c e in o rd er to Justify

p o ch tli's a ttire , c a rrie d to his te m p le , and e v e n tu a lly eaten . Supplicants o ffe red him

students o f an c ie n t M ex ico , th e re fo re , have

q u a il, in p a rtic u la r, and w om en g arlan d ed

w o n d ered w h e th e r hum an sacriBce re a lly d id

Bgure, or

th e ir ow n violence in the N e w W o rld . Some

w ith Rowers danced the serp ent dance fo r

take p lace a t a ll, and , if so, on w h a t sort o f

h im . S everal veintenas o f p re p a ra tio n le d up

scale. D u ra n expressed his ow n in c re d u lity at

to P a n q u e tza liztli, w h en th e an n iversary o f

the 8 0,4 00 victim s supposedly sacriBced for

H u itzilo p o c h tli's m iraculous b irth a t C o a te -

th e re d ed ic atio n o f the T e m p le o f nuiiziLO

pec on the day 1 F lin t in the y e a r 2 A c a tl

pocHTLi in 1487 - b u t he also rep o rted th a t

was c ele b rated , again w ith a dough Bgure o f

c lo tted

H u itzilo p o c h tli.

w ith in th e te m p le p re cin c t, and th a t a n ew

A

PMEST b earin g a

Bgure

hum an

blood

fo rm ed

g re at

pools

o f P a in a l led a g re a t procession through

skullrack (see TZOMPANTu) had to be b u ilt to

T e n o c h titla n and neighboring tow ns b efo re

accom m odate th e thousands o f n ew offerings.

re tu rn in g to the cerem o n ial p recin ct in T e n ­

T h e T ellerian o -R e m e n s is , a n a tiv e post-C on-

o ch titla n . F o u r victim s w e re sacriRced in the

quest account,

b allco u rt, then m any m ore on the T e m p le

20,0 00 fo r th a t sam e eve n t. A rch aeo lo g ically, a fe w la rg e deposits o f

o f H u itzilo p o c h tli. (H u itzilo p o c h tli w as also

speciBes

th e

slau g h ter o f

celeb rated d u rin g P ach to n tli and T laxo ch i-

hum an skeletons h ave been recovered: 42

m aco.)

ch ild ren w e re sim ultaneously sacriBced to TLALOC and in te rre d on th e T la lo c side o f the

hum an sacriBce H u m an sacriBce p layed a

C re a t T e m p le in T e n o c h titla n ; m ore re ce n tly ,

vita! role in M eso am erica, p robably from e arly tim es onw ard, although it is d iffic u lt to

a larg e n u m b er o f w a rrio rs w e re recovered

docum ent before the L a te Preclassic period.

ACAN, p ro b ab ly a single sacriB cial o ffe rin g fo r

According to most n ative w o rldview s, the coos had o ffered th e ir ow n B LO O D in o rd er to g enerate hum ankind, and the sacriBce most sought by the gods in re tu rn was hum an Besh and blood. A fte r Cortés's a rriv a l in the N e w W o rld , the Aztecs sent him tam ales (ground m aize cakes) soaked in blood, a foodstuff a pp ro p riate for a god. H u m a n ity live d in the th ra ll o f this blood deb t, and hum an sacriBcial victim s w e re offered rep eated ly to forestall the dem ise o f the w o rld and to seal the com pact m ade w ith the gods. T h e Aztecs, fo r exam ple, b elieved th a t they w e re livin g in the Bfth sun, the gods having created and destroyed fou r previous eras, and th a t hum an sacriBce h elped to keep the gods a t bay. M o s t M esoam erican peoples probably also recognized th a t hum an sacriBce was a w ay to extinguish enem ies, dim inish the num ber o f young m en in an enem y's arm y, and to h u m iliate p ublicly one's opposition (see C A P T IV E S ). Slaves w e re purchased fo r sacriBce, and parents did ap p aren tly sell th e ir c hild ren fo r the purpose, b u t there w ere p ro b ab ly fe w w illin g volunteers, despite the b e lie f th a t sacriBcial victim s ascended d ire c tly to heaven. H u m an sacriBce was not used as a punishm ent w ith in society fo r crim es; and E X E C U T IO N and hum an sacriBce w e re not con­ fused. T ru ly horriB ed by the hum an sacriBce they saw, the Spanish conquerors m ay have

from the T e m p le o f Q u e tza lc o a tl a t TEOTiHUa tem p le d ed icatio n e ven t. A m p le evidence o f hum an sacriBce survives fro m Prehispanic a rt. T h a t th e p ractice existed is irre fu ta b le . W h a t w ill p ro b ab ly alw ays re m ain a m ystery is its scale, p a rtic u la rly am ong th e A ztecs. A t M o n te A lb án , the T e m p le o f the D a n z­ antes m ay be a clue to F o rm a tiv e perio d p u b lic hum an sacriBce am ong th e Zapotees. M a n y panels th e re p o rtra y w h a t seem to be sacriBced victim s, lim p and m u tila te d , pro b ab ly displayed as a p u b lic m em o rial o f victory. As d ep icted in L a te C lassic a rt, the M a y a g en e rally d ec ap ita te d th e ir victim s, som e­ tim es o nly a fte r agonizing to rtu re . Some w e re scalped, others b u rn t o r disem bow eled and some b eaten . Some captives w e re dressed and th en bound as DEER, perhaps as p a rt o f a scapedeer ritu a l; others w e re trussed up and bounced as if balls in the ritu a l BALLCAME. SacriBcial victim s m ay have been p arad ed in litte rs b efo re sacriBce on scaffolding. M a n y depictions o f hum an sacriBcial victim s w e re carved on the treads or risers o f steps, and such a rc h ite c tu ra l featu res p ro b ab ly served as th e sites o f rep eated sacriBces. M a y a lords sought to cap ture o th e r h ig h -ran kin g lords in b a ttle , and th e ir subsequent sacriBce offered prestige - and possibly trib u te and pow er to the victor. N o mass in term en ts o f M a y a sacriBcial victim s have been recovered archaeologically. O n e M a y a king, B ird Jaguar


97

HUMAN SACRIFICE

of Yaxchilan, claim ed 21 captives over the course o f his life tim e, and i f he sacrificed that m any over the course o f his career, archaeological evidence w ould be elusive. The M a y a often carved hum an bones, possi­ bly those o f sacrificed captives. D is a rtic u la te d skeletons a c c o m p a n y in g p r i­ m a ry in te rm e n ts m a y re p re s e n t sla u g h te re d captives. A fe w b u ria l co nH gu ratio ns h a v e suggested th a t liv in g offerin g s a c c o m p a n ie d th e n o b le d e a d : a t P a le n q u e , th e d o o r to th e to m b o f T e m p le

18a w as se a le d fro m

th e

inside. A 2 5 -y e a r-o ld w o m a n le f t h e r h a n d ­ prin ts in th e c o n ta in e r o f p la s te r th a t she h a d used; th e n , ta k in g a tib ia fro m th e Heshless sk eleton h o n o re d b y th e TO M B , she sat d o w n in a co rn e r to a w a it h e r DEATH. A lth o u g h de p ic tio n s o f h u m a n sacrifices do no t s u rv ive a t T e o tih u a c a n , th e p resence o f hum an

HEARTS on

staffs a n d

on costum es

argu es fo r th e p ra c tic e th e re . In V e ra c ru z , sacrifice b y

H aying

took

p lace

fro m

Human sacriHce, Codex Laud, Late Postclassic period.

L a te

F o rm a tiv e tim es o n w a rd . A t C lassic E l T a jin , h u m a n sacrifice b y h e a r t ex tru sio n is d e p ic te d as ta k in g p lace in th e b a llc o u rt, b u t m a y no t h a v e b e e n lim ite d to th e b a llg a m e . In th e T o lte c e ra , h e a r t sacrifice p re v a ile d a t b o th T u la

an d

C h ic h e n

Itz a , a n d

th e C h ic h e n

exam p les a re th e m ost e x p lic it p re -C o n q u e s t de p ic tio n s o f th e sacrifice. G iv e n th e p ro m i­ n e n t s k u llrack (iz o m p a n f/t) a t C h ic h e n Itz a , d e c a p ita tio n p ro b a b ly fo llo w e d , o r m a y h a v e b e e n an in d e p e n d e n t m ean s o f sacrifice. H um an

sacrifice o c cu rred w ith

th e ce l­

e b ra tio n o f m ost A z te c VEINTENA festivals. T h e la rg e s t n u m b e r

of hum an

sacrifices w e r e

m a d e in h o n o r o f H u itz ilo p o c h tli a n d TEZCATLi POCA, as w e ll as a t tim es o f d e d ic a tio n . H e a r t

sacrifice d o m in a te d th e p ra c tic e , a n d m ost Hayings took place a fte r th e h e a r t h a d a lre a d y b e e n e x tru d e d .

M o d ern

students o f h e a rt

sacriHce b e lie v e it to h a v e b e e n a q u ic k m eans o f d e a th , p a rtic u la rly w h e n c a rrie d o u t by sk illed p ra c titio n e rs w ith FLINT blades. H e a d s w e r e o fte n se vered a fte r d e a th a n d d isp la yed on th e skullrack.

H u m a n im itation o f natural events pro­ p itiated nature and this mimesis o f agricul­ tural phenom ena was m ade sacred through hum an sacriHce. D u rin g O chpaniztli, in cel­ ebration o f harvest and cmcoMECOATL (the Aztec MAIZE goddess), a w om an was Hayed, ^ in this case the Hayed hum an skin represent­ ing the ripening husk o f corn. F o r Tlacaxipeh ualiztli, the x iP E TOTEC im personator w ore the Hayed Hesh o f another hum an: as the old

Aztec human sacriHce, Florentine Codex, Book 2.


W!

H U M M IN G B IR D Resh ro tte d a w a y , th e im p erso n ato r w as lik e

o f the Q u ic h e M a y a is H u n H u n a h p u , fa th e r

a fresh sprout g ro w in g from th e ro tte n h u ll

o f th e H e ro T w in s X b a la n q u e and H u nah p u

o f a seed. ,See aiso AUTOSACRiFiCE, CREATION

as w e ll as th e MONKEY artisans H u n B atz and

A C C O U N T S ; D E A T H ; S A C R IF IC E .

H u n C h u en . In the F o p o / VuA, H u n H u nah p u and

h u m m in g b ird W ith its d im in u tiv e size, b rilli­

his

b ro th e r,

V ucub

H unahpu,

are

d e fe a te d and sacriRced in the U n d e rw o rld .

a n t plum age and ra p id and e rra tic R ight, th e

T h e severed head o f H u n H u n a h p u is placed

hu m m in g b ird is one o f the m ore strikin g birds

in a tre e w h ic h then m ag ically becom es a

o f M eso am erica. B u t alth o u g h to the W e s te rn

gourd. Im p re g n a te d b y the s p ittle fro m this

m ind the h u m m in g b ird m ay be seen p rim a rily

m iraculous gourd, th e m aid en X q u ic gives

as a p re tty and d im in u tiv e c re a tu re , in a n cien t

b irth to X b a la n q u e and H u n a h p u . A fte r a

M ex ico it was o ften id e n tifie d w ith BLOOD and

series o f tria ls , the H e ro T w in s d e fe a t the

w a r. T h e peoples o f an cien t M eso am erica

gods o f d ea th and re trie v e th e rem ains o f

took special note o f its p ro c liv ity to suck

H u n H u n a h p u and V u cu b H u n a h p u .

FLOWERS w ith its long n e e d le -lik e b eak. Thus

R epresentations

L a te

Hun C lassic

H unahpu M aya

a re

w idesp read

m only d ep ict the h u m m in g b ird w ith a p e rfo r­

scenes. Q u ite com m only he is fou n d w ith the

ated Row er m id w ay dow n the beak.

m onkey artisans o r th e C lassic versions o f

In ancient M eso am erica, the act o f sacriR-

in

of

both the Classic and Postclassic M a y a com ­

vessel

H u n a h p u and X b a la n q u e . O n one vessel, his

cia! BLOODLETTiNC was com m only com pared

head appears on th e tru n k o f a

to the hum m ingbird sucking n ectar from a Row er. Am ong the M id d !e F o rm a tiv e

In th e u p p er branches o f the sam e tre e , his

O lm ecs, Rne ja d e ite p erforators w e re fre ­ q u en cy carved in the form o f a hu m m in g b ird , w ith the !ong beak serving as the p erfo ra to r blade. A t E a rly Postclassic C hichen Itz á , the hum m ingbird is represented in the context o f HUM A N SACRIFICE; in the L o w e r T e m p le o f the Jaguars, a hum m ingbird pierces the HEART o f a m an em erging from a Rower. In L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , both hum m ing­ birds and Rowers are w id e ly id e n tifie d w ith blood and bloodletting. O n page 44 o f the Codex B orgia, QUETZALCOATL in the guise o f a hum m ingbird stands in a cascade o f blood m arked by JADE and Rowers. A ztec represen­ tations o f bone bloodletters com m only p o r­ tra y a Row er a t the b lu n t condyle end o f the instrum ent. In m any instances, hum m ing­ birds are ren dered sucking the nectar o f these b lo o d letter Rowers. T h e hum m ingbird is also q u ite an aggress­ ive and fearless b ird th a t has been know n to attack creatures m any tim es its size. Possibly fo r this reason, it was identiR ed w ith one o f the fiercest and most bellicose gods o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico, H u rrz iL O P O C H T L i, the p atron god o f the Aztecs. In N a h u a tl, H u itzilo p o c h tli signifies "hu m m in g bird on the le f t /' or "hu m m in g bird o f the south." In the fe w know n A ztec portrayals o f H u itz ilo ­ p ochtli, he is usually shown w earin g a longbeaked hum m ingbird headdress. H u n H u n ah p u O ne o f the m ost im p o rtan t characters in the POPOL v u H creation account

CACAO

tree .

head m ay be seen tu rn in g in to a cacao pod. Q u ite c le a rly this is a C lassic fo rm o f the episode in w h ich the h ead o f H u n H u n ah p u is placed in th e gourd tree . I t is also now e v id e n t th a t the C lassic H u n H u n a h p u is a form o f the

M A IZ E C O D .

In m any vessel scenes

he em erges fro m th e e a rth , m uch lik e p la n te d com sprouting o u t o f the soil. H unahpu

see

C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ;

POPOL v u H ;

T W IN S

Ila m a te c u h tli Also re fe rre d to as c iH U A C O A T L and Q u ila z tli, Ila m a te c u h tli was an A ztec goddess o f th e E A R T H , D E A T H , and th e M IL K Y WAY. P o rtra ye d as an aged w om an w ith a Reshless m outh containing larg e b ared te e th , she dressed e n tire ly in w h ite and w o re a skirt edged w ith shells term e d th e c /i/a M /cue, or star skirt, a referen ce to the M ilk y W a y . H e r tem p le w as know n as T lilla n , m eaning "darkness" and h e r co n tin u ally d arkened cham ber h eld cap tive im ages o f C O D S fro m a ll regions o f the A ztec e m p ire. O n e o f h er m ore im p o rta n t festivals occurred d u rin g the VEINTENA m onth o f T ititl; d u rin g the N e w F ire cerem onies p erfo rm ed in th e y e a r o f 2 Reed, Ila m a te c u h tli appears to have p layed a m ajor ro le in th e T ititl b u ria l o f th e jauAmoAp/Mi B U N D LE S m arking the com pletion o f a 52-ye ar cycle, áee a/so C A L E N D A R ; F IR E .


99 incense T h e o fferin g o f incense was consid­ ered an act o f p u rific atio n th a t lin k e d a sacrificial object or person to th e C O D S , thus allow ing its acceptance by them . T h e most common native incense, w id e ly called copaV from the N ah u a tl copa/A - and also know n as pom am ong the M a y a , is the resin from trees o f the /2ursera genus, though gums and resins o f o th er trees a re also used as incense.

ITZAMNA The head of Hun Hunahpu as an ear of mature maize, detail of a mural from Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala, Late Classic period. Although appearing in a Central Mexican mural, this is a clear representation of a Classic Maya god.

W hen b u rn t, copa/ yields abu n d ant sm oke, and in this smoke could be seen ancestors as w e ll as the gods to w hom an offering was being m ade. R UBBER, as w e ll as some other saps - regarded as the B LO O D and life forces of trees - m ade clouds o f smoke in w hich deities m ight be conjured. M o d e rn Z in acanteco M a y a collect tw o kinds o f pom , one nodules o f resin and the o th er chips o f w ood, from tw o trees o f the B ursera genus; the

Ilamatecuhtli with shield and baton, Codex Borbonicus, p. 36, 16th c. Aztec.

nodules are considered the b e tte r incense. In the PO PO L v u H , the Q uiche M a y a lineages offer specialized blends o f copa/ to the four D IR E C T IO N S . In the story o f the H e ro T w in s in the Popo/ V u/i, the U N D E R W O R L D lords w ho dem and the h e a rt o f X quic are tricked into accepting red nodules o f tree sap instead. In the D resden Codex, gods o ffer and receive pom . In this century, the Lacandon M a y a have collected gums and saps for incense and form ed it into w hat they consider m ale and fem ale nodules on a board fo r offering to the gods. T h e Aztecs freq u e n tly censed w ith a lad le w ith rattles and p ro ffered the smoke to the fou r directions. In the VEINTENA A te m o ztli, A ztec priests m ade a special offering o f abun­ d an t incense to T L A L O C , possibly in mimesis o f the clouds associated w ith T laloc's R A IN . A rchaeologically, incense has been recovered from the C hichen Itz á C E N O T E and the N evado de Toluca. Itza m n a According to C olonial Yucatec accounts, Itza m n a was the high god o f the M a y a . F ittin g his role as param ount king, he o ften bears the title o f aA au///, or " lo rd ," in the Postclassic Yucatec codices. S im ilarly, Classic M a y a vessel scenes fre q u e n tly depict Itza m n a as an enthroned king presiding over lesser coos. H o w ev er, in Postclassic C O D IC E S he fre q u e n tly appears w earin g p riestly accou­ trem ents. In Postclassic Yucatan he was con­ sidered as the Rrst PRIEST and the in ven to r o f D u rin g the m onth o f U o, priests presented th e ir screenfold books in fro n t o f an im age o f the god. H is identiB cation w ith W R IT IN G .

Copa/ incense placed upon a board, Lacandon Maya, early 20th c.


¡00

rrZPAPALOTL the scribal arts was also p resent d u rin g the

th rea te n ed

Ctassic p erio d . In L a te C lassic vessel scenes,

ECLIPSES. She w as a goddess o f the paradise

he is o fte n p o rtrayed as a scribe (see

re a lm o f TAMOANCHAN, a place identiA ed w ith

S C R IB A L

to d evo u r people d u rin g solar

o f X c a lu m k in , he bears the scribal title o f ah

the b ird o f th e gods and hu m an kin d . T h e e a rlie s t know n rep resen tatio n o f Itz p a ­

d z/b , or H e o f th e W ritin g . As w ith

p a lo tl appears on a fra g m e n ta ry re lie f from

c o o s ).

M o re o v e r, a t the T e rm in a l C lassic site

probab!e consort

o tc H E L ,

ifie d w ith the pow ers o f

his

Itza m n a w as id e n t­

E a rly Postclassic T u la , w h e re she appears

Thus d u rin g

w ith a ske letalize d head and b u tterA y w ings

C U R IN G .

the Yucatec m onth o f Z ip , he was invoked as

supplied w ith

a god o f m edicine. In the Postclassic Yucatec codices, Itza m n a

id e n tity rem ains to be p ro ven , the Z apotee

stone blades. A ltho u g h

the

d e ity called Goddess 2 ) by A lfonso Caso and

appears as the aged d e ity know n as G od D

Ig n a cio B ern a l found on ceram ic urns m ay

(see scHELLHAS coos). D u rin g both the Classic

w e ll tu rn out to be a C lassic Z ap o tee form o f

and Postc!assic periods, he w ears a p ro m in e n t

Itz p a p a lo tl. In a n u m b er o f instances, this

beaded disk upon his b ro w . A diagnostic

Z ap o tee goddess is c le a rly identiA ed w ith the

e lem e n t o f Itza m n a ,

bat.

the

sam e disk also

appears in his nam e glyph. Q u ite fre q u e n tly , this disk contains the A kbal sign denoting

Itz tla c o liu h q u i-Ix q u im illi

darkness or blackness, and it is p robable th a t

M exican s, stone and castigation w e re closely

the device represents an

O B S ID IA N M IR R O R ,

as was used in d iv in ato ry scrying (see

such D iv iN

To

th e

ancien t

re la te d concepts, since m iscreants w e re fre ­ q u en tly punished by stoning. Thus the N á h u ­

ATtoN). D u rin g the Postclassic p erio d , C od D

a tl expression fo r p u nishm ent w as fef/-cua/?u-

can appear in CAIMAN guise and in fact, signifies CA!MAN, lizard or large Ash in M a y a n languages. It is probable th a t this caim an

M exican d e ity o f castigation, Itz tla c o liu h q u i-

aspect o f Itzam n a is id en tical to the C o lo n ial Yucatec being know n as Itza m C ab A in , the great earth caim an associated w ith the flood. Itza m n a is also closely id e n tifie d w ith the PRINCIPAL BIRD DEITY, the Classic M a y a form o f v u c u B C A Q U ix , the m onster b ird o f PO PO L v u n fam e. T h e P rincipal B ird D e ity appears to be none other than the celestial aspect o f Itzam n a . Itzp a p a lo tl O ne o f the m ore fearsom e god­ desses o f the C e n tra l M exican pantheon, Itzp a p a lo tl is com m only rendered as a skeletal being w ith )A C U A R talons and kn ife -tip p e d w ings. T h e term iizp a p a /o d c a n signify e ith e r O B S ID IA N b u tte rfly or claw ed B U T T E R F L Y , b u t it is lik e ly th a t the second m eaning is in ten d ed. R ath er than obsidian, the w ing blades are c learly ren dered as F L IN T , or feepad. I t is q u ite possible th a t the concept o f a claw ed butterA y refers to the B A T , and in fac t, in a num ber o f instances Itzp a p a lo tl appears w ith b at wings. H o w ever, she can also appear w ith clear b utterA y and E A G LE attrib u tes. Itzp a p a lo tl is patron o f the day Cozcacuau h tli and the TRECENA 1 House; the day 1 House is also one o f the Ave w estern trecena dates dedicated to the ciHUATETEO, the dem onic w om en w ho died in c h ild b irth . Itzp a p a lo tl was not only a c/A uafeot/, b u t also one o f the tzitz/fn im e, star dem ons th a t

m eaning "w o o d and stone.

T h e C e n tra l

Ix q u im illi is also th e god o f stone and coldness. H e fre q u e n tly appears w ith a face and curv­ ing foreh ead o f banded stone, m uch lik e varieties o f FLINT or agate. In som ething lik e the W estern concept o f "ju stic e is b lin d ," he is usually b lin d fo ld ed o r sightless. In m any cases, he blends w ith the b lack T E Z C A T H P O C A and in this form appears as a god o f the n orth and p atro n o f the day A c a tl. In a d d itio n , he serves as the god o f th e T R E C E N A 1 C u e tzp a lin . In m any instances, Itz tla c o liu h q u i-Ix q u im illi is ren dered w ith a sto n e-tip p ed d a rt in his b ro w . T h is p ro b ab ly concerns an episode fro m the L ey en d a d e Aw so/es account o f the creation o f th e A fth sun a t T E O T iH U A C A N . As the god o f the DAWN and the m orning star, TLAHUIZCALPANTECUHTLI shot a d a rt a t th e SUN w ho, in tu rn , transAxed T la h u izc a lp a n te c u h tli w ith a d a rt through the foreh ead . T h e account states th a t once p ierced by this d a rt, T la h u iz­ calp an tecu h tli becam e th e god o f cold, th a t is, Itz tla c o liu h q u i-Ix q u im illi. T h e C e n tra l M exican god o f stone, cold, and castigation also appears in the Venus pages o f the M a y a D resden Codex. O n D resden page 50, he is ren dered not only w ith th e b lin d fo ld b u t also w ith a A int p o in t p rojecting fro m the top o f his headdress. I t is possible th a t th e codical C o d Q (see scHELLHAS G O D s ) is a Postclassic M a y a version o f Itztla c o liu h q u i-Ix q u im illi. Ixch el A t the tim e o f the Spanish Conquest,


101 Ixchel was a p ro m in e n t M a y a goddess, patroness o f c h ild b irth , pregnancy, and fe r til­ ity. W om en from a ll over Y ucatan m ade long pilgrim ages to seek h e r a tte n tio n a t shrines on C ozum el and Is la M u je re s , and the shrines w ere rep utedly Blled w ith sculptures o f h er im age, although none survive. T h e nam e Ixchel can be tran slated as "L a d y R ain b o w ." In the D resden C odex, she bears the nam e Chac C h el, and is depicted as an old lad y w ith snakes in h er h a ir, som etim es w ith ¡AGUAR claws and eyes, and occasionally dressed in a skirt p attern e d w ith a skulland-bones m o tif. She also appears to be a patroness o f w eaving, D iv iN A T iO N , and m id w if­ ery, although she is probably not the b e a u tifu l young w eaving w om an given form in a num ­ ber o f Jaina figurines. N o r is th e re reason to think th a t she is the b e a u tifu l young MOON goddess o f Classic M a y a a rt w ith w hom h er nam e has been w id e ly id e n tifie d : th a t young w om an, som etim es depicted w ith in the cres­ cent o f the m oon, does not b ear the nam e

The aged god Itzamna with a bow! of maize tamales, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase.

Ixchel or C hac C h el. Ixchel's closest associ­ ations are w ith certain C e n tra l M exican god­ desses, p a rtic u la rly those re la te d to Toci and TLAMATECUHTLl. S e e á / s o BIRTH; SCHELLHASCODS.

ja d e T h e general term ja d e refers to both ja d e ite and n ep h rite. Both are rocks, or m in ­ e ral aggregates, and both are found in the O ld and N e w W orlds. In M esoam erica, only ja d e ite is found, som etim es occurring in lodes o f serpentine, a lesser greenstone, and its m olecules are ra re ly pure. A lb ite and diopside, also greenstones, occur w ith ja d e ite and w e re used fo r the same precious objects in the ancien t N e w W o rld . M esoam erican ja d e ite is a sodium and alum inum silicate, and it is h ard, b etw een 6.0 and 7.0 on the M ohs* scale, and so u n yield in g th a t tools to w o rk ja d e w ere o ften them selves m ade o f ja d e . In the M esoam erican w o rld w ith o u t m etal tools, ja d e was w orked w ith string saws, tu b u lar d rills, and ja d e tools, b u t w ith ja d e pow der or q u artz sand as the abrasive. Jade occurs as rocks and boulders, usually along rivers. A field o f ja d e boulders w ith in 30 m iles o f the M o tag u a R iv er in G u atem ala now supplies a m odern ja d e industry. K now n gen erically as ch a /c h /h u ff/ in C en ­ tra l M exico , ja d e was the most precious rock

Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli, the god of stone, cold, and castigation, Codex Borbonicus, p. 12, 16th c. Aztec.


102

JAG UAR or m in e ra! in M eso am erica. Perhaps because

ra in forest bu t w e re sought In trib u te and

o f its d o m in an t green and b !u e-g reen colors,

tra d e by a ll h ig h lan d civiliza tio n s in M exico. C a lle d o ce/o d in N a h u a tl, the ja g u a r is not (o

it w as id e n tifie d w ith

M A IZ E , W A T E R ,

s rr, vege­

ta tio n , even life its e lf. As such, it w as som e­

be confused in English w ith ocelot (P a n fAera

tim es in la id as th e HEART in sculptures and in

pardaA s), th e sm aller cat o f s im ila r pelage.

the m ouths o f the dead as m oney - and as a

U n lik e its m ore a d a p ta b le and silent cousin

sign o f the re n e w a l o f life . T h e O lm ecs w e re the Erst M eso am erican

th e p u m a (PantAena conco/or), jaguars w ill

people to locate and carve ja d e . T h e y p re ­

agoutis, MONKEYS, w a te rb ird s , Esh, TURTLES,

fe rre d the b lu e-g reen v a rie ty now g en e rally

and even CAIMANS, and the cat is p a rtic u la rly

ro a r or g ru n t. A ja g u a r's d ie t includes OEEH,

thought to have com e fro m C osta R ica and

fond o f restin g on branches th a t extend out

used the m a te ria l fo r th e ir m ost precious

over w a te r.

objects: p o rtra it masks, incised depictions o f gods, and utensils used in religious ritu als.

JAG UA R C O D S

w e re p resent in e very m ajor

M eso am erican c iv iliza tio n , b u t jag u ars w e re

From O lm ec tim es o n w ard , ja d e had g re at

also

value

SHAMAN), and in states o f ritu a l tran sfo rm atio n ,

as an

h eirlo o m , and ju d g in g

from

im p o rta n t

creatures

them selves

(see

m aterials dredged from the Sacred CENOTE a t

hum ans

C hichen Itzd , ja d e was the m ost im p o rtan t

from a t least O lm ec tim es o n w a rd . T h e M a y a

o ffering. It held g re at in trin sic valu e in every

h iero g lyp h th a t is read U A Y , m ean in g a nim al com panion o r T O N A L , is its e lf an aAau glyph

M esoam erican c u ltu re , and the Aztecs m ay

changed

sham anic

in to jaguars

have sacked ancien t buildings ju s t to re trie v e

h alf-co vered w ith ja g u a r p e lt. A ccording to

old ja d e . T h e Spanish w ere interested in cAa/cAiAu/f/ only insofar as they w ere able to prom ote green and blue glass beads in th e ir trad in g arrangem ents. W hen the Aztecs told them

Sahagun, A zte c 'c o n ju re rs w e n t abo u t c a rry ­

th a t the stones cured in te rn a l ailm ents, p a r­ ticu larly o f the spleen, liv e r and kidney, they called it loin-stone, or p /e d ra de ¿/ada in Spanish. Sir W a lte r R aleigh com m ented on these m iraculous CURINC stones o f the loins in the 1580s, b u t the w ord ja d e , a corruption o f jf/ada, only cam e into the English language la te r. W hen it was catalogued and given a L a tin nam e by Europeans, they called it /apis nepAr/t/cus, from the L a tin w ord fo r kidney, nepArus, yieldin g the w ord n ep h rite, w hich they then a pp lied to A sian ja d e. T h e con­ fusion was com pounded in m odern tim es, w hen tw o distinct compounds w e re id e n tiE ed, n ep h rite and ja d e ite . ja g u a r Probably the most feared and revered beast in M esoam erica, the ja g u ar (.PaatAera onca) played a pro m in en t religious role. L ik e hum ankind, the ja g u ar occupies the top level o f the food chain, and people sought to id e n tify them selves w ith the big cat. G e n er­ a lly nocturnal, the jag u ar's eyes are lum inous gold disks a t night, and a ja g u ar skull exca­ vated a t K am in aljuyu bears gold p y rite eyes. D is tin c tive black rosettes characterize ja g u ar pelage, and they are present even on the ra re r a ll-b lac k ja g u ar although they can be seen only in raking ligh t. Fishers as w e ll as hunters, jaguars liv e exclusively in the tropical

ing its h id e - the h id e o f its foreh ead and o f its chest, and its ta il, its nose, and its claw s, and its h e a rt, and its fangs, and its snout. I t is said th a t they w e n t ab o u t th e ir tasks w ith them - th a t w ith them th e y d id d arin g deeds, th a t because o f them they w e re fe a re d " (F C :x i). T o assert lo rd ly p o w e r, chiefs and w ore ja g u a r p elts, ja g u a r sandals, dresses fashioned o f ja g u a r heads, and laces m ade o f ja g u a r te e th - and even

kings h ead ­ neck­ neck­

laces o f JADE beads carved as ja g u a r teeth . A long w ith the M A T , ja g u a r pelts and cushions w e re the sym bol o f th e enth ro n ed lo rd , and m any stone thrones, p a rtic u la rly am ong the M a y a , took the shape o f jag u ars, som etim es double-headed. Jaguar offerings w e re m ade on im p o rta n t ritu a l occasions. A t C opan, 16 jaguars w e re sacriEced in conjunction w ith th e in s ta lla tio n o f th e 16th ru le r o f the dynasty. T o be sacriEced, a ja g u a r m ig h t w e ll have had to be drugged! A t least th re e ja g u a r p elts, along w ith pelts o f th ree sm aller cats, w e re draped w ith in the so-called Sun G od's T o m b a t A ltu n H a . In the G re a t T e m p le o f T e n o c h titla n , m any jaguars w e re in te rre d , perhaps to sym ­ b olize the P Y R A M ID as a m o u n tain w ith CAVES, the p re fe rre d d w e llin g o f the ja g u a r. SacriEced jaguars w e re o ften beheaded, and a headless ja g u a r glyph in M a y a WRrrtNG rem ains undeciphered. O n a series o f w e llknow n b u t poorly understood codex-style M a y a pots, C H A C sacriEces a baby ja g u ar,


103

JAGUAR GODS

sometimes pictured n a tu ra lis tic a lly and o th er times given hum an characteristics, in the presence o f G od A (see scHELLHAS coos). Such a repeated religious im age m ig h t re fe r to a calendrica! or astral m yth. jaguar gods Jaguar gods played a p ro m in en t roie in M esoam erican relig io n . L ik e JAGUARS them selves, these gods w e re associated w ith N IG HT, CAVES, the UNDERWORLD, h u n tin g , and stealth. T h ey are also related to transform ­ ation Bgures, and some are know n as aspects of other deities. T h e Olm ecs w e re long thought to have only one m ajor d eity , the W ERE-jACUAR, supposedly derived from the m ating o f a hum an and a jag u ar. R ecent studies have dem onstrated that m any o th er anim als, including birds and SERPENTS,

lie a t the root o f

O LM EC CODS,

Jaguar with a jade ball in its mouth, found as an offering in the Templo. Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Late

but

O lm ec sham anic transform ation Bgures p ri­ m a rily fe a tu re the ja g u ar. Am ong O lm ec d eities, the crouching RAIN god fre q u e n tly has the body o f a ja g u a r, and he m ay be the m ost characteristic w ere-jag u ar. A t TEO TIHU AC AN, there are num erous ja g u a r sculptures - some functioning as ritu a l recep­ tacles - b u t am ong the supernatural ones, the N e tte d Jaguar is probably the most prom i­ nent. C h aracterized by a ja g u ar body covered in a re ticu la te d in terlac e, the N e tte d Jaguar usually features a great panache o f trim m ed feathers a t the back o f the head and m ay have a fe a th e r trim along the back, ta il, and legs. In depictions o f processions w h ere he altern ates w ith coyotes, a hum an HEART hangs in fro n t o f his lo llin g tongue, suggesting a sacriBcia! ro le, and presaging the WARRIOR ORDERS dedicated to totem ic anim als in A ztec tim es. T h e N e tte d Jaguar often bears MIRRORS and rattles, perhaps because o f a relatio n he m ay b ear to D iviN A TiO N , and he m ay travel along a path m arked by hum an footprints. A three-dim ensional fea th e red ja g u a r w ith its back carved as a receptacle m ay have once received hum an hearts, lik e the la te r A ztec cuAUHXicALLis. T h e Teo tih u acan TLALOC fre ­ q u en tly has a ja g u a r association, p a rtic u la rly in the form atio n o f the T la lo c A m outh. A t M o n te A lb an , ja g u a r urns are featu red from an early d ate. As am ong the M a y a , n atu ralistic jaguars som etim es b ear hum an scarves, as if to in d icate a supernatural associ­ ation. T h e ja g u ar god lab eled 1 T ig e r by Alfonso Caso and Ignacio B ern al freq u e n tly w ears a hum an h e a rt as a pectoral. T h e ir god lab eled O ld God 5 F bears the same tw isted

In a state of shamanic transformation, a Maya lord would take on an animal self or uay, most commonly the jaguar; from a Late Classic Maya vase, Altar de Sacrificios.

Hill of the Jaguar, Codex Vindobonensis, p. 9, Late Postclassic Mixtee.


104

J A G U A R -S E R P E N T B IR D " c ru lle r" (so nam ed because it resem bles th e

p a rtn e r, th e Stingray P a d d ler, the Jaguar

tw isted p as try) b etw e en th e nose and u n d er

P a d d le r is an old god, w ith sunken cheeks. O th e r M a y a

th e eyes th a t characterizes the M a y a Jaguar

sup ern atu rals w e a r ja g u a r

G od o f th e U n d e rw o rld and is c le a rly re la te d

p elag e or a re jag u ars. T h e patro n o f the

to th a t d e ity . Perhaps because the M a y a and th e ja g u a r

ja w and w ho occurs in th e com pany o f the

shared dom inion o ver the tro p ica l ra in fo rest,

Jaguar C o d o f th e U n d e rw o rld on p ain te d

m onth Pax is a ja g u a r god w ho lacks a lo w e r

the M a y a had m ore ja g u a r d eities and d eities

ceram ics, fre q u e n tly in the context o f HUMAN

w ith

S A C R IF IC E .

ja g u a r

associations

than

any

o th e r

X b a la n q u e , one o f the H e ro T w in s ,

M eso am erican peoples. T h e M a y a p a rtic u ­

o ften has ja g u a r p e lt on his face, arm s, and

la rly id e n tifie d the suN w ith the ja g u a r. T h e

legs, and is th e p atro n o f th e n u m b er 9.

d ay tim e sun, o ften rep resen ted as p atro n o f

In C e n tra ! M exico , T e p e y o llo tl was the

the n u m b er 4, can be rep resen ted w ith ja g u a r

m ost im p o rta n t ja g u a r god, and as a d e ity

featu res, b u t the n ig h ttim e sun, the Jaguar

re la te d

C od o f the U n d e rw o rld , p atro n o f the nu m b er

p lace in th e A zte c p an th eo n . T e p e y o llo tl,

to

TEZCA TH PO C A ,

h eld a significant

7 , is c le a rly a ja g u a r in his fu ll-b o d y depictions

" h e a rt o f th e m o u n ta in ," d w e lt in m ountain

and g en e rally has ja g u a r ears in a ll rep resen ­

CAVES,

tations. H e m ay also app ear as an anth ro p o ­

in

m orphic

p recin ct suggests th a t the A ztecs p erceived

form , w ith ja g u a r characteristics

and the v ery o ffe rin g o f so m any jaguars

the G re a t T e m p le o f th e ir cerem onial

lim ite d to the face. T h e Jaguar G od o f the

this tem p le com pound, d ed ica te d to

U n d e rw o rld usually has a hank o f tw isted h a ir

and

over his forehead, and a " c ru lle r" b etw een his nose th a t m ay continue un d er the eyes. In this form , the Jaguar God o f the U n d e rw o rld

yollot! p resided over the T R E C E N A 1 M a za t! and was the eig h th L o rd o f the N ig h t (see

is the sun in the U n d e rw o rld , trav elin g from w est to east, som etim es atop a g re at C A IM A N . T h e Jaguar God o f the U n d erw o rld is p a rtic u ­ la rly associated w ith T ik a l, o f w hich he m ay be the patro n , p a rtic u la rly in the E a rly Classic; the toponym for T ik a l is incorporated into his headdress in some depictions a t T ik a l and most form a! p o rtra itu re o f T ik a l kings incorporates the head o f the Jaguar C od o f the U n d erw o rld . O th e r M a y a ja g u a r gods include the W a te r L ily Jaguar, the Jaguar B aby, and the Jaguar P ad d ler (see P A D D LE R coos). A lw ays a zoom orphic form , the W a te r L ily Jaguar w ears a w a te r lily on his head and usually a collar o f extruded eyeballs around the neck or a scarf. T h e W a te r L ily Jaguar serves as a throne, m arches in U n d erw o rld processions, appears occasionally w ith a STAR sign on his back (perhaps to te ll us th a t he is also a constellation), serves as the patron o f the m onth Pop, and functions as an overarching brame fo r one o f the g ian t T ik a l litte rs . T h e Jaguar B aby is usually shown as a chubby zoom orphic or anthropom orphic ja g u ar, alm ost alw ays set in opposition to C H A C in scenes o f S A C R IF IC E . C hac w ields an axe, and the Jaguar Baby usually reclines on a stone A L T A R . O ne o f the p a ir o f P A D D LE R CODS th a t guide the M A IZ E G O D and others through the w aters o f the U n d e rw o rld , the Jaguar P addler usually handles the fore o f the craft. L ik e his

ii u iT Z iL O P O C H T L i ,

TLALOC

to be the h e a rt o f the

m o untain w h e re T e p e y o llo tl d w e lt. T e p e -

C A L E N D A R ). á * e e a / s O K IN IC H A H A U ; T E O T IH U A C A N CODS.

ja g u a r-s e rp e n t-b ird

T erm in o lo g y

th a t

has

been used to describe a fro n ta l m onster from w hich a hum an head p ro trud es, th e "ja g u a rs e rp e n t-b ird " is a fro n ta l version o f the WAR SERPENT. S eler lin k ed th e im ag ery to V E N US and the m orning star and suggested a relatio n sh ip to Q U E T Z A L C O A T L and T L A L H U IZ C A L P A N T E C U H T L i th a t can no longer be supported. R are a t T E O T IH U A C A N its e lf, th e fro n ta l w a r serpent is m ost com m on am ong th e M a y a , a t Piedras N egras and C h ich en Itz á , and a t T u la . T h e p rim a ry association o f this com ­ posite im age is w a rfa re . Jester C o d T h e Jester G od takes his nam e from the head o rn am en t th a t dangles over his foreh ead lik e th a t o f a court je s te r. U sually trilo b e d and d epicted o n ly as a head (except a t P alenque, w h e re a body is in clu d ed ), the d istinctive Jester G od head o rn am en t makes its Erst appearance d u rin g O lm ec tim es - as a head o rn am en t a t L a V e n ta and on braziers from M o n te A lb an - although th e Jester God occurs m a in ly am ong the Classic M a y a , and m akes no Postclassic appearances. D u rin g the E a rly Classic p erio d , some M a y a Jester Gods have the characteristics o f a S H AR K . G e n era lly , the Jester G od functions as a head ornam ent o f kings and was m ade o f JA D E , b u t lesser


105 nobles w ear Jester Gods o f various colors in the Bonam pak m urals, so it was not the exclusive p u rview o f kingship. T h e ja d e Jester God depicted on Pacal's headband on the Palenque O val Palace T a b le t is p ro b ab ly the very one recovered from Pacal's tom b.

JEWELRY Crouching JaguarSerpent-Bird, a version of the War Serpent; Chichen Itzá, Yucatán, Early Postclassic period.

je w e lry M e n and w om en, CODS and hum ans all w ore je w e lry in ancien t M esoam erica. In general, je w e lry was m ade o f the most precious m aterials: JADE, serp entin e, and other greenstones, along w ith am ber, pearls, SHELL, q u artz, and OBSIDIAN in the F o rm a tiv e and Classic eras, and COLD, silver, TURQUOISE, obsidian, shell, q u artz and greenstones in Postclassic tim es. A lthough some mosaic w ork is know n am ong Classic je w e lry , it becam e m ore com mon in the Postclassic era.

In the h a ir, diadem s, tiaras, and headbands o f in d ivid u al carved beads som etim es accom pany or supplant headdresses; h ead ­ dresses them selves, if they include fu ll heads, m ig h t b ear ear hares and o th er ornam ents. H a ir was also pulled through fancy beads, p a rtic u la rly a t the fro n t o f the head, and tiny beads w ere w orked into long strands o f h air am ong some 8th c. M a y a . E a r hares g en erally w ere assemblages in w hich the larg e hange a t fro n t was anchored to a counterw eight behind by a cord th a t pierced the ear. Nose ornam ents, p a rtic u la rly b u tterh y ornam ents, w e re know n at TEonmjACAN, T u la , Chichen Itz á , and T en o ch titlan . Noses w ere pierced to receive nose beads: lords jo u rn eyed to C h olu la to have th e ir noses pierced and to receive the adornm ent h ttin g a king. C e n tra l M exican nobles pierced the lo w e r lip in order to insert a la b re t, m any o f w hich took the form o f snakes or birds. Necklaces w e re som etim es suspended in m u ltip le strands, form ing beaded collars. B eaded w ristlets and anklets w e re additional adornm ents. A lthough ra rely depicted in a rt, rings have been found archaeologically, p ar­ tic u la rly am ong the M a y a . D u rin g the P roto­ classic and Classic, b e lt assemblages, com ­ posed o f a head w ith th ree thin dangling plaques, w e re w orn by kings at e ith e r the fro n t or back o f the w aist. Perhaps because o f the green foliage o f MAIZE, the M a y a m aize god HUN HUNAHPU w ears abundant je w e lry , probably o f ja d e . In p reparatio n fo r SACRIFICE, M a y a captives w ere often bedecked w ith je w e ls and fin ery. T h e ir

sacrifice m ay have been liken ed to the harvest o f the M a iz e C od.

c Protoclassic and Classic forms of the shark Jester Cod. a, As worn by Protoclassic ruler, Loltun Cave, Yucatán. 6, Shark Jester God of ruler Stormy Sky, Stela 31, Tikal, Early Classic period, c, Shark Jester God of ruler Pacal, Oval Palace Tablet, Palenque, Late Classic period.


toa

K !N !C H A H A U

K in ic h A h au D u rin g both the C lassic and

lig h tn in g

Postclassic periods the M a y a

p o te n t and d ra m a tic n a tu ra l phenom ena o f

suN

god was

and

th u n d e r

A m ong

the

most

term ed K in ich A h au , m ean in g sun-faced or

M ex ico a re lig h tn in g storm s w h ich lig h t up

sun-eyed lo rd . In proE le, the sun god appears

th e

m uch lik e a younger version o f ITZAMNA. T h e

p a rtic u la r, lig h tn in g is reg ard ed w ith special

and shake th e

SKY

EARTH

w ith th u n d er. In

s im ila ritie s a re not co in cid e n ta l; am ong the

in te re s t. R a th e r than b ein g o n ly a dangerous

contact period Y ucatec, one aspect o f the

p o w e r, lig h tn in g is considered

aged c rea to r god was K in ich A h au Itza m n a .

g ivin g and eng en d erin g . Because o f the basic

to be life

F o r the Postclassic codices, the sun god is

association o f lig h tn in g w ith ra in , the gods o f

com m only re fe rre d to as C od G

lig h tn in g a re u su ally also the gods o f

(s e e s c H E L L H A S

coos). In contrast to Itza m n a , the codical sun

R A IN .

H o w e v e r, lig h tn in g its e lf was c le a rly consid­

god is usually bearded and has sn ake-like

ered as a m a n ifestatio n o f p o w e rfu l fe rtiliz in g

elem ents curving out from the corners o f the

energ y, as, fo r exam p le, in the w idespread

m outh. H o w e v e r, one o f the most d istin ctive

m yth o f the o rig in o f

traits o f K inich A hau, is the fo u r-p e ta le d Am

splits open th e rock co n tain in g the hidden

often placed upon his brow o r body. W h en

seed. In M eso am erica, the alm ost instantaneous

view ed face on, it m ay be seen th a t the M a y a

M A IZ E ,

w h e re lig h tn in g

sun god is cross-eyed and has his u p p er

Hash o f lig h tn in g is rep resen ted in a n u m b er

incisors hied into the form o f a " T ." D u rin g both the Classic and Postclassic periods, the sun god is closely id e n tifie d w ith JAGUARS, and a t tim es appears w ith a ja g u a r ear. In Classic period inscriptions, he serves as the head v a ria n t o f the num ber 4, and patron o f the m onth Yaxkin. It is clear th a t the patron o f the m onth Pax is again the sun god, although w ith o u t his lo w er ja w . A long w ith the M o n ­ key Scribe, the head o f the sun god can also denote the Long C ount position o f K in , or day (see CALENDAR). T h e sun god appears in s till ano th er e p igraphic context, C I I I o f the P A L E N Q U E T R IA D , w h ere he bears an im p o rtan t title shared w ith M a y a kings. A lthough this title has been com m only read as maA AmaA, recent epigraphic research indicates th a t it is pro­ bably to be read AimcA, a title recorded for the 16th c. highland M a y a . T h e M a y a id en tificatio n o f kings w ith the sun god can be traced to a t least as early as the m id -5th c. A D . In the upper portion o f T ik a l Stela 31, the deceased ru le r C u rl Snout appears apotheosized as K inich A hau. M o reo v er, a t both L a te Classic P alenque and Yaxchilán, ancesters are depicted w ith in solar cartouches. ^eea/so D E IF IC A T IO N ; JAGUAR CO D S ; S UN.

o f w ays. Q u ite com m only, th e sinuous aspect

K ukulcan .see QUETZALCOATL

o f lig h tn in g bolts takes the form o f u n d u latin g G ive n the igneous n atu re o f lig h t­ ning, these lig h tn in g snakes a re o fte n re p ­

SERPENTS.

resented as b u rn in g F iH E serpents. T h e stone axe, usually o f F L IN T , is a n o th er w idespread sym bol o f lig h tn in g . E v en today, stone axes found in the Helds a re com m only reg ard ed as spent lig h tn in g . A m ong th e Classic M a y a , th e so-called M A N IK IN SCEPTER refers to lig h tn in g sim u l­ taneously as a serp ent, Hre, and axe. T h e M a n ik in Scepter takes the fo rm o f a deiHed axe, w ith one o f the legs te rm in a tin g in a bu rn in g serpent foot, and is sim ply an aspect o f the d e ity com m only know n as C o d K (see S C H E L LH A S coDs), or Aau/Z in the Classic M a y a script. C H A C , the M a y a god o f ra in and lig h t­ ning usually w ield s th e C o d K serp ent axe. I n C e n tr a l M e x ic o , th e lig h tn in g g o d o f th e A ztec s a n d o th e r p e o p le s is th e jAGUAR-fanged TLALO C .

The

e a rlie s t k n o w n

d e p ic tio n s

of

T la lo c fr o m P rotoclassic T la p a c o y a p o rtra y th e

d e ity

H anked

by

s e rp e n tin e

lig h tn in g

bolts. A m o n g th e Z a p o te e s o f O a x a c a , th e god o f lig h tn in g is c o cijo , a w o rd w h ic h m ean s lig h tn in g . T h e T o to n a c go d o f lig h tn in g , T a jin , is also n a m e d b y th e n a tiv e w o rd fo r lig h tn in g .

T h e sym bolism o f th u n d er is less evid en t and developed than th a t fo r ligh tn in g . A ccording to one A zte c account, thu n d er is caused by the b reakin g o f g re at w a te r jars containing ra in . A m ong the contem porary


107

LONG NOSED AND LONG-LIPPED DEITIES

highland M a y a , there is a contrast b etw e en vigorous and you th fu l lig h tn in g gods and gods of thunder, w ho tend to be aged gods o f the earth and m ountains. T h e aged th u n d e r god is freq u ently re fe rre d to as M a m , and it is probable th a t the ancien t M a y a god know n as PAUAHTUN or C od N is the P rehispanic form of this being. T h e m odern H uastec M a y a o f northern V eracruz and n eighboring San Luis Potosí also possess an aged th u n d er god known as M a m . H e is said to app ear b en t over his w alking stick, and num erous Prehispanic Huastec sculptures s im ila rly p o rtray the old M am stooped over his staff. litters N obles, d e ity im personators, sacrificial victim s, and im ages o f GODS w e re o ften carried in litte rs , as w e re w e alth y persons w ho could afford to h ire bearers to keep th e ir fe e t from touching the ground. P resum ably it was ennobling to be borne alo ft. O n long journeys, both A ztec MERCHANTS and ranking A ztec w arriors m ight be carried in litte rs . T h e earliest depiction o f a litte r occurs a t Iza p a, w h ere a d eity w atches from a litte r w h ile a d ecapitation takes place. M a y a kings w ere borne in litte rs , o ften m ade o f sim ple rushes and carried by ju s t tw o bearers. A t T ik a l, g raiE ti scratched on palace and tem ple w alls record extrem ely elaborate litte rs in the form o f g ian t W a te r L ily Jaguars and W A R SERPENTS. T h e Aztecs fre q u e n tly carried th e ir sacri­ ficial victim s about in litte rs p rio r to S A C R IF IC E . Some A ztec child sacrifices to T L A L O C w ere thus paraded, as w ere the d eity im person­ ators dressed as MOUNTAINS during the VEINTENA o f T e p e ilh u itl. D u rin g th a t festival, fou r o f the five m ountain im personators w ere w om en, including one dedicated to M A Y A H U E L , and a ll the bearers w ere w om en. 5ee a/so D E IT Y

Early Classic (left) and Late Classic representations of Kinich Ahau, the Maya sun god.

(Left) Late Classic form of Chac, the Maya god of rain and lightning, wielding a serpent-footed lightning axe; detail from a Maya vase. (jRigAf) The aged Mam, the Huastec god of thunder, Veracruz, Postclassic period. The staff is in the form of a serpent, probably an allusion to lightning.

IM P E R S O N A T IO N ; J A C U A R C O D S .

long-nosed and lo ng-lipped deities A lthough these term s have long been in use fo r Classic M a y a and e a rlie r d eities, they are confusing and do not allo w fo r discrim ination am ong M a y a C O D S. s c H E L L H A S first used the term "god w ith long nose" to describe C H A C , but since his day, g re at num bers o f gods have been called long nosed. T h e m ore recent term , "lo n g -lip p ed d e ity ," has been used to describe m ore accurately the extended upper t lip o f m any M a y a and Iza p a gods, b u t this term also tends to group a ll such deities together w ith o u t distinction. W h a t can be said about the shape o f the lo w e r face - or w h a t can m ore g en erally be called the snout -

Litter topped by a smoking jaguar, Izapa Stela 21, Protoclassic period.


IMP

MACUILXOCHiTL is th a t it m ay revea! a zoom orphic o rig in .

p erio d , m a ize (Z e a m ays) has been the most

U p w a rd -tu rn in g snouts, lik e th a t o f the JESTER

im p o rta n t food crop o f M exico . T h e

coo, in d ic ate a SERPENT o rig in . D o w n w a rd -

know n dom estic m aize appears d u rin g the

curvin g snouts, lik e th a t o f the

A rch a ic p erio d o f th e Teh u acan V a lle y in

P R IN C IP A L B tR D

first

DEITY, suggest the beaks o f birds. B !u n t or

P u eb la a t around 3500 Be. H o w e v e r, fa r

square snouts g e n e ra lly re v e a l a jACL AR o rig in .

la rg e r and m ore p ro d u ctiv e form s o f m aize developed M any

d u rin g

researchers

the

F o rm a tiv e

c u rre n tly

period.

b eliev e

th a t

a n cien t p eople dom esticated m aize from a closely re la te d grass know n as íeosm fe (Z e a m exicana). T h e etym ology o f feaw n fe reveals M ac u ilx o c h itl is nam ed fo r a specihc d ate in

th a t th e n a tiv e peoples o f h ig h lan d M exico

the 260-d ay CALENDAR, 5 F !o w e r. H e is the

also recognized th e im p o rtan ce and relevance

p rin c ip a l god o f the

o f this p la n t to m aize. T h e term derives from

A H U iA T E T E O ,

w ho a re

nam ed a fte r the five southern day nam es

th e N a h u a tl w ords tee, sig n ifyin g "g o d " or

app earin g w ith the coefficient o f 5 and w ho

"s a c re d ," and c m f/i, m eaning " m a iz e ." Thus

are gods sim ultaneously o f excess pleasure

a s u itab le gloss fo r feosm fe is "g o d ly c o rn ."

and o f consequent punishm ent. O n pages 47

R epresentations o f m aize d ate fro m as e a rly

and 48 o f the Codex B orgia, they ap p ear w ith

as the F o rm a tiv e O lm ec and abound in the

a hum an hand across the m outh, an im p o rtan t

la te r iconography o f Classic and Postclassic

tra it o f M ac u ilx o c h itl. T h e patron god o f

M exico . T h e C lassic M a y a seem to have had

palace folk as w e ll as o f gam es and gam bling -

an especially close re latio n s h ip w ith m aize,

in p a rtic u la r, the gam e o f

- M a c u il-

and cran ia! d efo rm a tio n m ay have been p e r­

xochit! is closely related to and freq u e n tly overlaps w ith ano th er you th fu l god, xocmP!LL!, the 'flo w e r p rin c e."

m aize e ar. T h e C lassic and Postclassic M a y a

PATOLLi

m aguey N a tiv e to highland M exico, m aguey (A g ave spp.) is a p la n t o f m any diverse uses. In ancient M exico, the thorns tip p in g the leaves w e re w id e ly used as BLOODLETTING instrum ents. T h e thick fleshy leaves yield tough fib er for rope or coarse C L O T H . H o w ev er, the m ost renow ned product o f m aguey is PULQUE, know n as o cf/i in N a h u a tl. T h e fe r­ m ented sw eet sap, or aguam ie/, o f the m aguey p la n t, pulque is the most im p o rtan t alcoholic d rin k o f n ative M exico. M ag u ey was freq u e n tly personified as a you th fu l goddess. F o r the ancient M ixtees, the m aguey goddess is re fe rre d to as 11 Serpent, and appears w ith h er severed head fa llin g fro m her bleeding throat. This m ay re fe r to the severing o f the cen tral stalk o f the m aguey p la n t, a basic process in the production o f pulque. T o the inhabitants o f C e n tra l M exico, MAYAHUEL was the young goddess o f m aguey. In a 17th c. N a h u a tl chant recorded by R uiz de A larcon, m aguey is re fe rre d to by the calendrical nam e o f 8 F lin t. T h e same d ate o f 8 F lin t appears on the rim o f the A ztec B ilim ek Vessel, a P rehispanic stone vase covered w ith allusions to m aguey and pulque. m aize Since the beginning o f the F o rm ative

form ed to m im ic th e elongated form o f the also fre q u e n tly d e p ict m aize ears as hum an heads, as if corn was a s en tien t being. In the M ix te c a -P u e b la style o f Postclassic highland M exico , m aize ears a re also d ep icted w ith teeth and open eyes. E n tire ly d ep en d en t upon hum ans fo r pro p ag ation , m aize was considered as a frie n d and a lly o f people. In fac t, in M a y a m ythology o f hig h lan d G u a te ­ m ala, th e p resent race o f hum ans are the people o f m aize, and w e re firs t fashioned from ground corn and p e n ite n tia l BLOOD. A m ong C o lo n ial and contem porary h ig h lan d M aya o f G u a te m ala and neighboring C hiapas, th e u m b ilica l cord o f the new born child is cut over a m a tu re m aize ear. T h e bloodied seed is saved and becom es the special crop o f th e child . E ven a t the m om ent o f BIRTH, the in d iv id u a l becom es a v irtu a l blood a lly o f m aize. <See aVso ciNTEOL; CREATION ACCOUNTS; HUN HUNAHPU; MAIZE GODS.

m aize gods A lthough representations o f MAIZE a re know n fro m th e F o rm a tiv e p erio d , the id e n tific atio n o f O lm ec m aize gods is fa r from clear. G od I I o f the Joralem on O lm ec god classification (see O L M E C G O D s ) displays m aize sprouting fro m his or h e r c le ft head. H o w e v e r, it is not certain w h e th e r this d eity is a personification o f m aize o r perhaps the e arth or m ountain from w hich m aize o rig i­ nates. Several O lm ec representations o f chin-


109

MAIZE CODS

¡ess DWARVES display m aize signs on th e ir bodies. A lthough it is possible th a t these dwarves represent m aize, they also could refer to ucHTNiNC, RAJN, or o th e r forces th a t create corn. Am ong the Classic period Z ap o ­ tees, one e n tity com m only form ed on Zapotee urns - the C od o f G lyp h L — o ften appears w ith ears o f m aize. F o r this reason, he has been identiB ed as the Classic form o f the Zapotee m aize god, know n as P itáo C ozobi during the e a rly C o lo n ial period. H o w e v e r, the God o f G lyp h L shares m any characterist­ ics w ith the Classic form o f cocijo, th e Zapotee god o f rain and ligh tn in g . In fac t, C ocijo also generally bears m aize ears in his hands or headdress. T h e e arliest id en tiB ab le M esoam erican m aize god appears in E a rly Classic M a y a a rt as a you th fu l m ale w ith stylized m aize placed at the top o f the head. D u rin g the L a te Classic period, tw o d istinct b u t overlapping form s o f this d e ity develop. O ne o f these, the Tonsured M a ize G od, appears w ith a m arked ly elon­ gated hum an head often shaved in zones across the B attened b row ; he is the Classic M a y a prototype o f HUN HUNAHPU o f the Q uiche M a y a P O P O L v u n . R ecently discovered m urals at C acaxtla, T laxcala, po rtray heads o f the Tonsured M a ize God as rip en ed ears o f yello w corn. H e thus represents m atu re and fe rtile m aize; the other L a te Classic m aize d eity , h ow ever, depicts ten d er grow ing m aize. This Bgure, the F o lia te d M a iz e G od, is p o rtrayed w ith a stylized m aize ear sprouting from the top o f the head. T h e M a y a m aize god continues in this form through the L ate Postclassic period. In the codices, he is com ­ m only re fe rre d to as God E, follow ing the Schellhas system o f d eity classiBcation (see S C H E L LH A S C O D S ).

Aside from the notable appearance o f the Tonsured M a ize God a t C acaxtla, th ere are no clear representations o f m aize deities in C e n tra l M exico u n til the L a te Postclassic period. T h e most im p o rtan t o f these is ciNTEOTL, w ho is closely re late d to tw o other you th fu l m ale gods, xocmpiLLi and MACUiLxocmTL. L ik e the Postclassic C od E o f the M a y a codices, C in te o tl typ ic ally has a p air o f th in , broken, v ertic al lines passing down across the brow and cheeks. T h e Aztecs t also had fem ale personiBcations o f m aize, in p a rtic u la r, cmcoMECOATL, or 7 S erpent. T o the Postclassic M ixtees, m aize was com m only conceived o f as a w om an. In the Codex Vindobonensis, th ree m aize goddesses are

Macuilxochitl, the Central Mexican god of gaming and pleasure, Florentine Codex, Book 1, 16th c. Aztec.

(Above) Depictions of maize in ancient Mesoamerica. a, Olmec, incised jade, Middle Formative, b, State of Mexico, Late Classic, c, Maya, Palenque, Late Classic, d, Codex Borgia, p. 27, Late Postclassic.

(Left) Foliated maize god in dancing pose, Copán, Late Classic Maya.


!1(

M A N IK t N SCEPTER m en tio n ed , 5 F lin t, 7 F lin t, and 7 C rass. .See

fre q u e n tly a rran g ed through aged arbitrator!!

a / f O CREATION ACCOUNTS.

or m atchm akers. R itu a l banquets o ften fo rm ­ ed an essential p a rt o f the m arriag e cere­

M a n ik in

S cepter T h e

M a n ik in

S cepter, a

te rm coined by H . Spinden, is th e p a rtic u la r

m onies;

am ong both

the Aztecs and

the

Yucatec M a y a , th e fe e d in g o f the groom by

m an ifestatio n o f a M a y a god also know n as

th e b rid e w as an im p o rta n t rite d u rin g the

C od K or C II o f the PALENQUETRiAD. H is nam e

fe s tiv itie s . T h an ks to the F lo re n tin e Codex

was B olon D zacab in C onquest p erio d Yuca­

and th e C odex M e n d o za , w e know a consider­

tán and he was p ro b ab ly know n as K a u il in

a b le a m o un t re g ard in g A ztec m a rria g e cere­

Classic tim es. T h is sam e d e ity m ay h ave been

m onies. T h e F lo re n tin e C odex provides p a rt

called T o h i! am ong the Q u ich e. In g en e ral, th e M a n ik in S cepter is a fu ll-

o f th e speech d ire cted to the fu tu re b rid e :

Hgure b u t d im in u tiv e re p res en tatio n o f this god designed to be held in the hand o f a ru le r as a sym bol o f ru lersh ip its e lf. W h e n

CHAC

carries the M a n ik in Scepter, it sym bolizes ucHTUHNc. T h e god is ch aracterized by an axe or sm oking tube th a t pierces his fo reh e ad , an u p w a rd -tu rn in g

snout, and,

m ost d istinc­

tive ly , one leg th a t turns in to a SERPENT, like the C e n tra l M exican d e ity TEZCATUPOCA, to w hom some scholars have lin k ed h im . H is first clear appearance is on E a rly Classic m onum ents, b u t the M a n ik in Scepter rem ains an im p o rtan t a ttrib u te o f ru lersh ip rig h t through the Postclassic a t C hichen Itz á and is probably the object held by the p atria rc h depicted in the 1557 X iu fam ily tree . T h e form m ay w e ll be based on an axe or C E L T . m arriage T h e in stitu tio n o f m arriage was not lim ite d in M esoam erica to the hum an plane b u t was present am ong the CODS as w e ll. In C en tra! M exico , gods w e re fre q u e n tly described as having both fem ale and m ale aspects, as if they w ere m arried couples. Exam ples include O m etecu h tli and O m ecihua tl (see O M E T E O T L ), M IC T L A N T E C U H T L I and M ic tecacihuatl, and TONACATECUHTH and Tonacacih u atl. M a rria g e also describes p a rtic u la r relationships betw een deities. Thus fo r exam ­ p le, C H A L c m u H T L i c u E - the goddess o f standing WATER and rivers - is the w ife o f th e RAIN and L IG H T N IN G god T L A L O C . O r there is the goddess o f M A G U E Y , M A Y A H U E L , w ho ÍS the SpOUSe o f Patecatl, a P U L Q U E C O D . In the M a y a area, the M O O N goddess is fre q u e n tly described as the w ife o f the SUN. Pages 57 to 60 o f the C e n tra l M exican Codex Borgia contain a rem arkab le series o f 31 god couples, perhaps composed fo r m arriage prognostications. I t is possible th a t the p airin g o f the you th fu l Goddess I (see S C H E LLH A S GODs) w ith p artic u la r gods in th e M a y a D resden Codex m ay s im ila rly have served to d ete rm in e m arriag e partners. In ancien t M esoam erica, m arriages w ere

O m y d au g h ter, tbou a r t h ere. F o r th y sake th y m others, th y tá th e rs h a v e becom e o /d m en, o /d w om en. N o w thou approaches? the o /d w om en, a /re a d y thou commences? the /d e o í an o /d w om an. F o re v e r n o w /e av e cABcbsAnesy, g irh sh n ess... B e m ost consider­ a te o f one; re g a rd one w ith respect; speak w e //, g re e t one w e //. B y m g h t /o o k to, take care o f th e sw eeping; th e /a y in g o f th e t?re. A ris e in the d eep o f n ight. D o n o t re /e c t us, do n o t em barrass us as o /d m en, do n o t re /e c t th y m others as o /d w om en. (Fe: V I) A m ong th e A ztecs, the b rid e was c a rrie d at dusk to the house o f th e groom . Seated on a M A T b efo re th e household h e a rth , the couple w e re presented w ith gifts. T h e union o f

m arriag e was ritu a lly expressed b y the old m atchm akers tyin g tog eth er the couple's clothing in a knot. In h ighland M ex ico , m a rria g e was com ­ m only rep resen ted by th e couple seated upon a m at or ly in g tog eth er u n d er a single b la n ke t. A m ong M eso am erican n o b ility , m arriag e cem ented alliances and le g itim ize d blood­ lines. O n e o f the m ost d e ta ile d scenes o f an e lite n a tiv e m arriag e cerem ony appears in the C odex Selden o f th e Postclassic M ixtees. H e re L a d y 6 M o n k e y o f Jaltepec m arries a lo rd nam ed 11 W in d . DANCING and cerem onial b ath in g by the couple form p a rt o f the m a r­ riage rites. A m ong th e Classic M a y a e lite m arriag e o ften served to re in fo rc e alliances b etw een cities and re v ita lize dynasties. T h e w ife o f th e C opán king Sm oke Shell cam e fro m th e d istan t site o f P alenque. K in g F lin tSky-G od K o f Dos P ilas m a rrie d a w om an from the site o f Itz á n , and la te r sent a d au g h ter to be m a rrie d to a N a ra n jo lord. O ne o f the greatest kings o f N ara n jo , Sm okingS q u irrel, w as born o f this union. m at H e o f the M a t was an eponym o f ru le r­ ship am ong m ost people o f an cien t M exico. N o t every m a t, h o w ever, was a key to a ru ling


I ll

MAYAHUEL

lord or high PRIEST h im self, fo r even assistants slept on finely w oven m ats, according to Burgoa's description o f the palaces a t M itla , where m ats w oven o f reed and rush w e re im portant furnishings o f a ll noble and p rie stly dwellings. M ats, nevertheless, w e re th e settings fo r many im p o rtan t ritu a l events. Kings sat on them on the ground or d raped them over stone THRONES. In the C odex M en d o za, M o te cuhzoma h im self is shown in his palace on a m at, or /cpa/A. A m ong th e A ztecs, th e p re ­ cious skins th a t draped thrones w e re also referred to as special types o f m at. M ats w ere im portant places for D iv iN A T iO N and the casting of lots. W eddings w e re som etim es conse­ crated on mats (see MARRIAGE). T h e M a y a called th e ir ru lin g lo rd the ah pop, or H e o f the M a t, and the term was synonymous w ith aAau, or lo rd , itse lf. In Yucatán the p o p o / na, or m at house, was the young m en's com m unity house fo r DANCE and perform ance, as w e ll as a place fo r the com m unity council to m eet. M a n y Puuc M a y a buildings have w oven m a t-lik e m otifs on th e ir exteriors, as do the palaces a t M itla , perhaps because they once served as com m unity coun­ cil houses. T h e p o p o L v u H , th e surviving Q uiche epic, is usually translated as the Book o f C ouncil, b u t the root o f p o p o / is m at, lin k in g a com m unity council and the m ats on w hich they w ould sit. T w o Classic M a y a stelae bear texts in te r­ w oven in the m at design, perhaps a d irect referen ce to ah pop, or ru le r. M a y a h u e l T h e C e n tra l M exican goddess o f MAGUEY, M a y a h u e l is usually depicted as a b e a u tifu l young w om an w ith a flow ering m aguey p lan t. H e r earliest know n represen­ tatio n occurs in the To ltec-style E a rly Post­ classic rock p ain tin g a t Ixtapantongo, in the State o f M exico. Dressed in a guecA guem /f/ (a draped blouse - see COSTUME), the goddess appears w ith in a m aguey p la n t holding tw o cups probably containing PULQUE. T h e L a te Postclassic M a y a h u e l fre q u e n tly displays attrib u te s o f the W A TE R goddess, C H A L C H iU H TLicuE, and, like that goddess, personifies fec­ un d ity and fe rtility . In one account, she is described as "th e w om an o f fo u r hundred , breasts," q u ite probably a referen ce to the rich, m ilky agu am fe/ sap o f th e m aguey p la n t from w hich the alcoholic pu lq u e is m ade. T h e /ZYsfoyre cfu m ecA /gue provides an account o f the origin o f M a y a h u e l and

Detail of Aztec marriage scene, the garments of bride and groom symbolically tied, Codex Mendoza, 16th c.


!11

M ERCHANTS m aguey. !n this m y th , EMECATLQUETZALCOATL

o f TOBACCO and th e o ffe rin g o f fto w E M , fol

takes M a y a h u e ! fro m h e r g ran d m o th er and

lo w e d by various courses o f food, and ending

star

w ith h o t chocolate and som etim es the con­

dem ons. Pursued by th e fz/ízín iA n e , E h e c a tl-

sum ption o f h allu cino g en ic mushroom s (see

com panions,

the

fearsom e

T z r r z iM iM E

Q u e tza lc o a tl and M a y a h u e ! disguise th e m ­

HALLuemocENs). T h e pocA feca gave a w ay th e ir

selves as branches o f a tre e . T h e fz/fz/m A ne,

m erchandise

h o w ever, recognize the branch o f M a y a h u e !,

capes, m a n tle s, and loincloths. Such exchange

and te a r it to bits. E h e c a tl-Q u e tza lc o a tl buries

fu e le d th e A zte c econom y. Because o f the ro le m erchants played in

h e r rem ains, and from h e r body, the first

in

abundance,

p a rtic u la rly

m aguey sprouts fo rth . In th e C e n tra ! M ex ica n

th e expansion and m e rc a n tile d o m in atio n o f

CALENDAR, M a y a h u e ! is the p atro n o f the day

th e A zte c re a lm , th e y received special honors.

T o ch th , or R ab b it, and

the TRECENA o f I

M ote cu h zo m a I I b ro u g ht the pocAfeca in to

M ah n aU i.

his cou rt and tre a te d them as if th e y w e re

m erchants In

m erchants b ath ed slaves and w e re able to

n o b ility . In th e VEINTENA o f P a n q u e tza liztli, A ztec society m erchants, or

pocAfeca as they w e re caHed in N a h u a t!, he!d

o ffe r them to H u itzilo p o c h tli along w ith the

a very specia! niche in w hich they functioned as em issaries, am bassadors, spies, and w a r­

CAPTIVES o f w a r o ffered b y g re at w arrio rs. W h e n a m erch a n t d ied on a m ission, he was

riors -

gloriously a do rn ed , p laced on a

not m ere!y as traders. T h e richest

L IT T E R ,

and

pocAleca !ived in T!ate!o!co, ju s t north o f

borne to a m o u n tain top, w h e re the body was

T en o c h titla n and on the sam e is!and. D u rin g

crem ated . I t was understood, th en , th a t he

the 15th c., T en o c h titla n g rew jea!ous o f the

had d ied as a w a rrio r fo r th e state, and he

w ea!th o f h er sister city and in 1473, sm ote

proceeded d ire c tly to the fo u rth h eaven , th a t

T!ate!o!co, essentiaüy u n itin g the tw o cities and com m anding g reat q u an tities o f trib u te

belonging to th e S U N. A m ong the Classic

from the w e alth y T!ate!o!cans. C en tra! M exican m erchants had th e ir ow n patron god, Y acatecuhdi, and the auspicious days for em barking on a trad in g expedition w ere 1 C oat! or 1 O zom adi. L ik e the m erch­ ants, Y acatecuhdi bears a w a!king staff, w hich its e !f was an object o f reverence. Y acatecuhdi rose to g reat prom inence in the !ast 30 years o f Prehispanic !ife , bu t the n atu re o f this god

scH ELLH A s

rem ains obscure. In m aking th e ir in itia ! forays in to n ew country, m erchants usuaHy trave!ed in dis­ guise, adopting !oca! dress and m anners w h ite they sized up the avai!ab!e !uxury goods th a t they m ost sought, such as b ird feathers, anim a! pe!ts, and precious stones. I f discov­ ered and attacked, they retu rn e d to inform th e ir ow n ru ie r, w hereupon w a r was fre ­ q u en tly declared upon the hostile region. I f the Aztecs w on - and they usuaHy did - they im posed unfavorable trad e conditions on the losers. W o rkin g in this fashion, the m erchants professed them selves the allies o f H u r r z i L O p o c H T L i, in whose service they claim ed lan d , goods, and trib u te . D esp ite th e ir w e alth , m erchants behaved hum bly, if not h yp o critically, in o rder not to d ra w excessive a tten tio n to th e ir success. T h e y practiced self-abasem ent, and sim ul­ taneously offered g reat feasts w ith lavish luxuries, usually beginning w ith the smoking

M a y a , C od

L

(see

GODs) w as th e p atro n o f m erchants,

and in some o f his depictions he carries a m erch an t pack lad en w ith rich goods. A t the tim e o f the C onquest, E k C h u a h was the patro n o f travelers and, by extension, m erch ­ ants, in Y ucatán. Professional m erchants am ong the M a y a w e re know n as p b /o m , and they bu rn ed cop a/ to X am an E k , the n orth star, to ensure th e ir safe jo u rn e y . T h e Z ap o ­ tees nam ed th ree gods, P itáo p eeze, P itáo q u ille , and P itáoyáge, as patrons o f riches and m erchants. M exican y ea r sign In L a te Postclassic h ig h ­ land M exico , the YEARBEARER days nam ing p a rtic u la r years a re fre q u e n tly m arked w ith a specific device, o fte n called the A O sign, or the tra p e ze-an d -ray sign. D u e to its p re va ­ lence in M ix te e w ritin g , it is also fre q u e n tly term ed th e M ix te e y e a r sign. T h e Postclassic y ear sign is typ ic ally com posed o f tw o in te r­ tw in e d elem ents, a p o in ted device id e n tic al to th e solar ray sign, and a squat form resem bling a R attened " O ." A t tim es, the sign is personified as a fro n ta l face, probably th a t o f the x iu H C O A T L Rre serpent. In A ztec iconography, the year sign is o fte n placed on the bodies o f X iu hco atl serpents. T h e id e n tific atio n o f the X iu hco atl w ith the year sign has a phonetic basis. In N ah u a tl, the term x iA u ii/ denotes year, T U R Q U O IS E , or


H3

MILKY WAY

grass.

In

som e instan ces,

th e

A z te c

year

sign appears w ith grass BUNDLES, p r o b a b ly a reference to jd A u ii/. A m o n g th e C las sic M a y a , the y e ar sign also a p p e a rs w it h tu fts o f grass. T h e id e n tific a tio n o f th e y e a r sign w it h grass m ay w e ll h a v e b e g u n a t th e g r e a t C lassic site o f TEOTiHUACAN. In T e o tih u a c a n ic o n o g ra p h y , grass b u nd les a re b o u n d w it h a p a rtic u la r tria n g u la r kn ot. T h is sa m e k n o t a p p e a rs as the p o in ted " r a y " p o rtio n o f e a rly y e a r signs at T e o tih u a c a n , a n d it is q u ite lik e ly th a t th e M e x ic a n y e a r sign d e riv e s fro m this b o u n d grass b u n d le . T h is id e n tih c a tio n o f grass w it h the y e a r sign a t T e o tih u a c a n su pp orts th e possibility th a t its in h a b ita n ts spoke a n a n ­ cestral fo rm o f N a h u a tl. $ e e a/so CALENDAR. M ic tla n .see UNDERWORLD M ic tla n te c u h tli T h e C e n tr a l M e x ic a n god o f DEATH,

M ic tla n te c u h tli ru le d o v e r M ic tla n ,

place o f th e d e a d (s ee UNDERW ORLD), alo ng w ith his w ife , M ic te c a c ih u a tl. S om etim es also re fe r r e d to b y th e n a m e T z o n te m o c , M ic t la n ­ te c u h tli

u s u ally

a p p ea rs

as a

sk eleto n

of

b le a c h e d w h ite bones w ith re d , b lo o d y spots. He

is o fte n

PAPER h e a d

festo oned

w it h

o w l fe a th e rs ,

o rn a m e n ts

an d

b a n n ers ,

an d

w e a rs a co lla r o f e x tru d e d e y eb a lls. D u r in g th e

VEINTENA o f T i t it l,

th e

M ic tla n te c u h tli

im p e rs o n a to r w as sacrificed a t n ig h t a t th e te m p le n a m e d T la lx ic c o , m e a n in g n a v e l o f th e w o rld . B ecause o f th e U n d e r w o r ld associ­ ation s o f DOGS, M ic tla n te c u h tli was th e p a tro n o f th e d a y Itz c u in tli, or dog; h e also re ig n e d o v e r th e TRECENA 1 T e c p a tl. W h e n th e im p e r ­ sonator o f M ic tla n te c u h tli d ie d , INCENSE w as o ffe re d o n ly a t n ig h t a t T lilla n , th e te m p le o f CIHUACOATL.

L ik e

o th e r

M e s o a m e ric a n

M ic tla n te c u h tli

w as

DEATH

fu n d a m e n ta lly

(Top) Merchants traveling with their packs along a road. In Mesoamerica, a tumpline strung across the brow serves as an essential means of carrying loads. (Aboye) Merchants and their goods; along with the carrying pack and frame, one can discern a live bird, a feather bundle, and a string of jade beads; Florentine. Codex, Book 9, 16th c.

Aztec sign for marketplace, Matrícula de Huexotzinco, 16th c.

CODS,

stupid

an d v u ln e ra b le to th e tricks o f s m a rte r gods. In

th e

fin al a c t o f c re a tio n , QUETZALCOATL

jo u rn e y e d to M ic tla n to re tr ie v e th e bones o f p rev io u s

eras

o f m a n k in d

g e n e ra te a n e w

fro m

w h ic h

to

race o f pe o p le. A lth o u g h

M ic tla n te c u h tli first g ra n te d th e re q u e s t fo r bones, h e th e n ch an g ed his m in d . H e g ave chase, b u t Q u e tz a lc o a tl escaped w ith stolen

bones,

u n fo rtu n a te ly

d ro p p in g

th e an d

b re a k in g som e o f th e m , a n d thus y ie ld in g a t race o f h u m a n s o f m ix e d

sizes.

S ee a/so

CALENDAR; CREATION ACCOUNTS.

M il k y W a y T h e g re a t b a n d o f STARS kn o w n as th e M ilk y W a y w as c o n ce ived o f in a

Year 1 Rabbit marked with Mexican year sign, stone tablet, Late Postclassic Mexico.


114

MiLPA v a rie ty o f w ays in an c ie n t In

M eso am erica.

C e n tra ! M ex ico , tw o im p o rta n t d eities

m irro rs A n cie n t M esoam ericana used m ir­ rors fashioned o f stone in a v a rie ty o f ways

p ersonified th e M ilk y W a y . D ressed in g a r­

T h e y could fun ctio n as ornam ents o f dress,

m ents o f w h ite , the aged goddess

cosm etic accessories, or as instrum ents o f

iL A M A T E -

cuHTLJ w o re a star s k irt, o r c rf/a ii /cu e, an

DiviNATiON. O n e o f the m ost w idespread uses

A zte c term fo r the M ilk y W a y . A n o th e r M ilk y

o f stone m irro rs was fo r d iv in a to ry scrying.

W a y d e ity was

A m ong m any contact p erio d M esoam erican

M IX C O A T L ,

a god o f the h u n t

w hose face is fre q u e n tly p a in te d w ith a black

peoples, in clu d in g th e Yucatec M a y a , Aztecs,

Held surrounded by stars. T h e term M ix c o a tl

and

signiEes "clo u d s e rp e n t," and could w e ll re fe r

bow ls E lled w ith w a te r w e re also used fo r

to the cloudy s trip o f the M ilk y W a y . L ik e the Rom ans (w h o Erst gave us the

esp ecially o ld tra d itio n , perhaps even d atin g

Tarascans,

the

reE ective

surfaces o f

d iv in a tio n , and it is possible th a t this is an

term V ia L ac tea , or M ilk y W a y ), th e C e n tra l

from b efo re the m a n u fa ctu re o f stone m irrors.

M exicans considered this band o f stars to be a

In M eso am erica, stone m irro rs a re know n at

road. A ccording to th e A&yfona J e Vos m e j­

least as e a rly as th e m id -2n d m ille n n iu m

icanos p o r sus p in tu ras , this becam e th e road o f

th a t is, b efo re

TEZCATUPOCA and

c iv iliza tio n . O lm ec m irro rs o f the E a rly and

QUETZALCOATL a fte r

th e ir

B e,

the app earan ce o f O lm ec

creation o f the e a rth . In the M a y a region, the

M id d le

M ilk y W a y is conceptualized as the road to

fashioned o f pieces o f iro n

F o rm a tiv e

perio d

w e re

usually

o re, such as

X ib a lb a , the UMDEnwoHLD, and the e n tire n ig h t

m a g n e tite , ilm e n ite and h e m a tite (.see

SKY m ay re p lic ate the U n d e rw o rld and the

BAR A N D H E M A T IT E ) .

c iN N A

Since these m irro rs w e re

m ovem ents o f its denizens. In Yucatec, it is

created from

term ed zac be/?, or " w h ite ro a d ." A n o th er Yucatec M ay an w ord for it was lam caz, a

a re fa irly sm all, ra re ly m ore than 15 cm or

curious term th a t also signiEes seizures.

6 inches in to ta l w id th . M o s t O lm ec m irrors a re concave, g ivin g them m any unique p ro p erties.

m ilpa T h e m odern M esoam erican term for MAtZE held, m ilpa derives from the N ah u at! m/Vpan, "in the cultivated E eld ." As the source o f m aize, beans, squash, and o th er plants o f v ita l necessity, the m ilpa Eeld is o f cen tral concern. I t is thus not surprising th a t m any n ative peoples are profoundly linked to th e ir Eelds. T h e term s fo r tw o related M a y a peoples, the C hoi and C h o rti, d erive from th e ir n ative words fo r m ilp a, cAo/and cAor. T h e y are tru ly the "peo p le o f the m ilp a ." In m any instances, the m ilp a represents order and balance, as opposed to the threaten in g chaos o f the sur­ rounding w ild bush. In M a y a m ythology, the cosmic act o f creation is com pared w ith m aking m ilpa: in the Q uiche PO PO L v u H , the m easuring and the m aking o f the w o rld is cast in term s o f preparin g the m ilp a fo r the present race o f hum ans, the people o f corn. L ik e the m ilpa farm e r, the GODS are supported and nourished by th e ir crop - the people w ho in h a b it the sur­ face o f the E A R T H . T h e conceptualization o f the e arth as a rectan g u lar m ilp a is also found am ong other M a y a groups, such as the C h o rti and Yucatec. In highland M exico, contem por­ ary N ahuat-speakers in the S ierra de P uebla also describe the w o rld as a m ilp a. M o reo v er, the S ierra N a h u a t also com pare hum ans to plants th a t are born or "p la n te d " upon the earth .

single pieces o f stone, they

The

reE ected

im age

appears

in v e rte d as w e ll as reversed, and the la rg e r concave m irrors a re capable o f sta rtin g F IR E . In O lm ec a rt, concave m irro rs com m only app ear as pectorals w o rn on the chest. In Classic M eso am erica, th e favo red m a te ria l fo r stone m irro rs was iro n p y rite . In this case, artisans la id cut iro n p y rite upon a slate backing, c reatin g a reE ective surface o f Enely E tted m osaic. T h e slate backing is usually c ircu lar and is o fte n b e a u tifu lly carved. Since th e p y rite m irro rs w e re fashioned o f m osaic ra th e r than o f a single stone, they could be o f g re a t size, and certain p icto rial Classic scenes suggest th a t there w ere m irrors m easuring 30 cm (12 inches) or m ore in d iam eter. H o w ev er, u n like the ores used fo r the concave O lm ec m irrors, iro n p y rite is not a stable m in eral and quickly oxidizes. F o r this reason, th e surfaces o f ancient p yrite m irrors ten d to be poorly p reserved, and now o ften app ear no m ore than a reddish or y ello w coloration upon th e slate backing. D u rin g the Classic p eriod, nobles w o re c ircu lar p y rite m irrors on the sm all o f the back, and m irrors have been found so placed in E a rly Classic burials fro m T E O T iH U A C A N and K am in alju yu . Back m irrors continued to be w orn in Postclassic C e n tra l M exico ; am ong the Aztecs they w e re re fe rre d to as fezcacu/t/api/A . O ne form o f back m irro r, a c en tral p y rite disk


115

MIXCOATL

surrounded by a TURQUOISE mosaic containing representations o f xiUHCOATL serpents, was especially com m on a t E a rly Postclassic T u la . This T o ltec form had an unusually broad distribution during the E a rly Postclassic, and examples have been found a t C hichen Itz á , Yucatan, and as fa r n o rth as d istan t Casas Grandes in C hih u ah u a. The black volcanic glass know n as OBSIDIAN was a favored m irro r stone in L a te Postclassic C entral M exico. A lthough it is lik e ly th a t smooth surfaces o f frac tu re d obsidian w ere used in Classic and F o rm a tiv e M esoam erica, ground and polished obsidian m irrors are not common u n til the L a te Postclassic. T h e g re at C e n tra l M exican god TEZCATLiPOCA, H e o f the Sm oking M irro r, appears to have been a personification o f the polished obsidian m irro r. Q u ite freq u e n tly , a sm oking obsidian m irro r appears a t the back o f the head and as one o f the fe e t o f T ezcatlipo ca. In ancien t M esoam erica, m irrors o ften re p ­ resented objects and concepts occurring in n atu re and society. By representing a w o rld th a t could be looked in to b u t not passed through, m irrors could be considered as CAVES or passageways for the supernatural. Because o f th e ir b rig h t, re flective surfaces, they w ere also com pared to fiery hearths or shining pools o f WATER. Q u ite fre q u e n tly , they are id e n tifie d w ith the suN , and this is probably also the case w ith the turquoise-rim m ed p y rite m irrors o f the E a rly Postclassic T o ltec. A t T eo tih u acan , circu lar m irrors w e re sym­ b o lically linked to eyes, faces, shields, and FLOWERS. C onsiderable n ative m irro r lo re sur­ vives am ong the m odern H u ich o l o f N a y a rit. H e re circu lar glass m irrors are considered to be supernatural passageways, as w e ll as being conceptually related to the sun, M OO N, faces eyes, and Rowers.

Carved slate backing of pyrite mosaic mirror, Teotihuacan, Early Classic period. This image appears to represent a fire goddess holding broad torches.

M ixc o atl L ite ra lly "cloud s erp en t," M ixco atl m ay have been physically id e n tifie d as the MILKY WAY and the very heavens. P rim a rily a hun tin g god, he was the patron god o f the O to m i and the C hichim ecs, and o f m any com m unities in C e n tra l M exico th a t claim ed descent from the Chichim ecs. H e was also w orshipped as the p rin cip al god o f H u e jo tzingo and T laxcala, g en erally under the nam e C am axtli. H e m ay o rig in a lly have been a legendary h u n ter and w a rrio r, d eified and sanctified, whose tra d itio n a l role was then displaced by the intro d uctio n am ong the Aztecs o f H u rrziL O P O C H T L i. W hereas H u itz ilo -

Mixcoatl, god of the hunt, whose name means cloud serpent, signifying the Milky Way; Codex Borgia, p. 25, Late Postclassic period.


no

M ÍX T E C C O D S pochth is id en tiB ed w ith the s u \, h o w ever,

e n tire ly d istinct calen d rlca! nam es, and m ore

M ixc o atl is c!ear!y associated w ith the

o ve r, c e rta in M ix te e d eities a p p ear but rare!y

STARS.

M ix c o a tl s most d is tin c tive physical charac­

o r n ev er in C e n tra ! M exican iconography

teristic is the red and w h ite "ca n d y -c a n e "

Exam ples a re th e fanged stone beings often

striped body p a in t he w ears. H e shares this

re fe rre d to by th e in a p p ro p ria te C e n tra ! M e x i-

ch aracteristic

can term o f

w ith

TLAHUtzcALPANTECUHTLi,

an o th er star god, and they both w e a r black

" x o L O T L ."

I t is now know n that

these beings w e re re fe rre d to as nuAu by the

masks over the eyes, som etim es trim m e d w ith

M ixte es , and w e re gods o f the

stars. M ix c o a tl, u n lik e T la h u izc a lp a n te c u h tli,

v eg etatio n . In C e n tra l M exican m anuscripts,

EARTH

and

m ay carry h u n tin g g ear, p a rtic u la rly a bow

th e y a p p ear o n ly in th e B orgia and Vaticanus

and a rro w and a n etted basket fo r c arryin g

B codices. S till an o th er im p o rta n t M ix te e

siaughtered gam e.

d e ity is a Hying fig u re fre q u e n tly w e arin g a

M ix c o a tl plays a n um ber o f im p o rta n t roles

Bre serp ent headdress and a TURTLE carapace

in scattered references, m a in ly iocated in the

upon his back. H e com m only holds FLINT

H is to ria d e /os m exicanos p o r sus prn turas.

blades in his hands, and it is possible th a t he

O n e o f the fou r child ren o f

is a LIGHTNING god. T o the M ixte es , this figure

TO NACATECUHTLi

and T o n acacih u atl, he was a!so id e n tifie d as

was know n as

the Red Tezcatlipo ca. In a n o th er ch a p te r o f the account, TEXCATLiPOCA transform ed h im self

the n eig hb o ring Zapotees as ear!y as the Protoclassic p erio d , o r M o n te A lb án n. F o r

in to M ixco at! in o rd er to o ffer a c eleb ratio n

the M ixtees, this b eing m ay be id én tica! to

to the o th er gods; w ith his in ven tio n o f the

one o f the sons o f the m ythica! c rea to r coup!e

Y A H u i,

and appears am ong

(ire d ri!!, this T ezcad ip o ca-M ixco at! brought

1 D e e r recorded by th e D o m in ican G reg o rio

HUE to m ankind. T h e first to use FLINT to strike fire, M ixcoat! took on fire associations along

C a rc iá . In the Selden RoH, th e y a /m i figure

w ith those o f w a r and the hunt. H e was a!so the fa th e r o f the 400 sons (th e C entzon H u itzn a h u a ) and five w om en created to feed the sun. A fte r the sun had consum ed the HEARTS o f the 400, one o f the surviving w om en gave BIRTH to M ixcoat!'s most fam ous progeny, QUETZALCOATL.

T h e 14th VEINTENA, Q uechoüi, was d ed i­ cated to M ixco at!. T h e feast was ce!ebrated by one or tw o days o f hunting and feasting in the countryside during w hich the hunters adorned them selves lik e M ixco atl him self and kindled new fire to roast the gam e. Subsequently, a m an and a w om an w ere sacrificed to M ixc o atl in his T E M P L E . T h e fem ale victim was slain like a w ild anim al: h er head was struck fou r tim es against a rock u n til she was half-conscious; then h e r th ro at was s lit and the head decapitated. T h e m ale victim displayed the head to the assem bled crowds before he him self was sacrificed by h e a rt extrusion. M ix te e gods D u rin g the pioneering in vesti­ gations o f the 19th and e arly 20th c., the gods o f the Postclassic M ix te e screenfolds w ere thought to be essentially id en tical to those appearing in A ztec and Borgia groups o f codices. H o w ev er, it has becom e increasingly a p p a ren t th a t the M ix te e pantheon was dis­ tin c t from th a t o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico. Thus the M ix te e gods tend to have

is nam ed I Jaguar. T h e m ost im p o rta n t p ic to ria! source fo r M ix te e gods is the obverse side o f the screen­ e d know n as the Vindobonensis o r V ien n a Codex. T y p ic a lly , the M ix te e gods b ea r nam es from the 260 -d a y C A L E N D A R , presum ab!y re fe r­ rin g to dates o f b irth . T h e crea to r couple w ho are both nam ed 1 D e e r in the crea tio n account m entioned by C a rc iá ap p e ar on page 51 o f the Codex Vindobonensis w ith skeletal m ouths and w e a rin g the headdress o f the cu ltu re hero 9 W in d . T h is sam e c a le n d rica lly nam ed couple is also illu s tra te d in the Selden R oll, w h e re they a re show n sim ply as an old m an and w om an. O n e o f the m ost im p o rta n t goddesses o f th e M ix te e pantheon was L ad y 9 Crass. U su ally d epicted w ith a s keletalized face, she seems to have been a goddess o f DEATH and th e fe rtile e arth . In th e Selden RoH, L a d y 6 M o n k e y o f Jaltepec m akes p ilg ri­ mages to th e oracle o f 9 Crass a t C halcatongo. In the Codex Vindobonensis, an old m an nam ed 2 D og is p o rtray ed as a PRIEST, and o ften appears w ith the TOBACCO gourd o f the p rie stly ofBce. A n o th er aged being, L ad y 1 E ag le, is goddess o f the sw E A TB A T H , and by extension, m ay also have been a goddess o f m idw ives and CURING. A m ong th e M ixtees, personifications o f p a r­ tic u la r plants or th e ir products are often po rtrayed as goddesses. Thus in the Codex Vindobonensis, the goddess o f MACUEY is Lady 11 Serpent, w h ile PULQUE is personified by tw o


117

MONKEY

goddesses n a m e d 2 F lo w e r a n d 3 A llig a to r. Young te n d e r MAIZE seem s to b e e m b o d ie d b y two goddesses n a m e d 5 F lin t a n d 7 F lin t. M a tu r e m aize, h o w e v e r, seem s to b e id e n ti­ fied w ith a goddess n a m e d 7 C rass. In th e Codex

V in d o b o n e n sis,

psilocybin m ush ro o m

th e

h a llu c in o g e n ic

is p o rtra y e d

by

tw o

s e rp en t-m o u th ed goddesses n a m e d 4 L iz a rd

Creator coupie 1 Deer

and 11 L iz a rd . A lth o u g h

th e re lig io n o f th e

9 Wind

Postclassic

M ixtees w as b y no m ean s id e n tic a l to th a t o f C e n tra l M e x ic o , a n u m b e r o f M ix te e gods have c le a r analo gues w it h C e n tr a l M e x ic a n deities. T h u s th e M ix te e c u ltu re h e ro 9 W in d is v e ry s im ila r to th e C e n tr a l M e x ic a n WIND god, EHECATL-QUETZALCOATL. T h e solar god 1 D e a th is th e M ix te e fo rm o f TONATiuH, th e C e n tra l M e x ic a n SUN god. L ik e T o n a tiu h , 1 D e a th is u s u ally re d a n d w e a rs a JADE b r o w

2 Dog

1 Death

piece an d a n EAGLE fe a th e r h eadd ress. T h e M ix te e god 7 F lo w e r a p p ea rs to b e re la te d to th e y o u th fu l solar d e ity k n o w n in C e n tra l M e x ic o as xocHiPiLLi. T h e M ix te e fo rm o f xiPE TOTEC is n a m e d 7 R a in , a n d lik e his C e n tra l M e x ic a n

c o u n te rp a rt,

c o m m o n ly

w e a rs

a

H ayed h u m a n skin a n d re d an d w h ite v e s t­ m ents. F in a lly , th e Postclassic M ix te e s h a d a fo rm o f th e RAIN a n d lig h tn in g god TLALOC. O n pa g e 5 o f th e C o d ex N u t ta ll, h e a p p ea rs w ith

7 Rain

11 Serpent

th e fa n g e d m o u th , goggle eyes, a n d u p w a r d ly tu rn in g lip o f th e Postclassic T la lo c . In his hands, h e w ie ld s a b u rn in g lig h tn in g b o lt an d

Mixtee gods appearing in the Codex Vindobonensis, Late Postclassic period.

ju g o f o u tp o u rin g WATER, c le a rly a p o rtra y a l o f ra in . O n pa g e 28 o f th e C o d e x V in d o ­ bonensis, a s im ila r T la lo c is n a m e d 5 W in d . .See a / y o

CREATION ACCOUNTS; HALLUCINOGENS;

M AIZE CODS.

m o n k e y T h r e e species o f m onkeys once liv e d in th e tro p ic a l lo w lan d s o f M e x ic o a n d G u a te ­ m a la : sp id e r, h o w le r, an d c a p u c h in (alth o u g h o n ly sp id e r a n d h o w le r m onkeys a re fo u n d th e re to d a y ). C a p u c h in m onkeys a re p a rtic u ­ la r ly fr ie n d ly an d a d e p t w it h th e ir hands, an d m a y h a v e b e en m ost co m m o n ly ad o p te d as pets in a n c ie n t tim es. H o w le rs b e llo w an d ro a r w h e n th e y v ib ra te a b o n e in th e la ry n x , an d th e ir calls can b e h e a rd fo r m iles. S p id er m onkeys, social a n im a ls th a t p r e fe r to liv e in groups o f 4 0 or 5 0 , ra n g e fa r th e r n o rth th a n

Stone sculpture of a spider monkey, Late Postclassic Aztec.

a n y o th e r N e w W o r ld m o n k e y . In C e n tr a l M e x ic o , th e m o n k e y w as k n o w n as o z o rn a i// an d w as th e 1 1 th d a y sign; am o n g th e M a y a , th e Y u c a te c d a y n a m e w as C h u e n . G e n e r a lly those b o rn on th e d a y O z o m a tli w e r e th o u g h t to b e lu c k y a n d h a p p y persons.

Spider monkey serving as the day name Monkey, Codex Borgia, p. 13, Late Postclassic period. In the Borgia Group of codices, monkeys frequently appear wearing suits of grass.

9 Grass


MERCHANTS considered a m onkey s h an d to be

Scribes a re o fte n

a talism an o f good luck. Sahagún describes w h a t is p ro b a b ly

industrious.

d ep icted

a/so

as g ifte d

and

C R E A T IO N A c c o u w r s .

a

spider m onkey: " A n d as to its actions: it is a

m oon T h e second b rig h test h eaven ly body,

shouter, a s h rill w h is tle r, m akin g gestures

th e m oon w as u n ifo rm ly associated w ith the

to w ard one. I t stones one, it hurls sticks a t

ra b b it in

one. I t has a face w hich is a little hum an.

surface o f a fu ll m oon, th e ra b b it is v isib le in

(F C : xi) T h e m onkey is re la te d to

p ro file , and various m yths account fo r its

his guise as

EHECATL.

Q UETZALCO ATL

A ccording to th e

in

F IV E SUNS

M eso am erican tho u g h t. O n

the

presence. S ilv e r was considered to be an excretion o f th e m oon (see EXCREMENT).

cosmogonic accounts, Q u e tza lc o a tl presided

A ccording to C e n tra l M ex ica n theology,

over the second sun, eAecafonatm A, the sun

th e SUN and th e m oon w e re crea te d together

o f w i N D , u n til it w as destroyed by g re a t w inds.

a t TEOTiHUACAN, in th e d aw n in g o f the c u rren t

T h e people o f th a t e ra w e re tu rn e d in to

e ra. N a n a h u a tzin and T e c u cizte ca tl p rep ared

m onkeys. W h e n the M a y a gods destroyed

to im m o late them selves b efo re the assem bled

the people form ed o f w ood in the POPOL vuH,

gods. W h e n T ec u cizte ca tl h es itated , N a n a h u ­

they too tu rn ed them in to m onkeys. Because they had m ore m onkeys close by

T e c u cizte ca tl fo llo w e d , m aking an o th er sun,

in the tropica! rain forest, the M a y a tended

b u t the gods d arken ed his face, h u rlin g ashes

to m ake m ore distinctions b etw e en the spider

or a ra b b it a t h im to d im his rad ian ce.

m onkey (cAuen) and

the h o w le r m onkey

(A atz). In Classic a rt, the spider m onkey fre q u e n tly personifies licentiousness and sex­ ual abandon; M a y a clowns a t highland fe s ti­ vals today often im personate m onkeys w hen they act out im m oral and in a p p ro p riate behavior. T h e presence o f g reat num bers o f m onkey figures in the a rt o f Classic V eracru z m ay re flec t a sim ilar association o f the m on­ key and sexual license. In the P opo/ VuA, H u n B atz (1 H o w le r M o n k ey ) and H u n C huen (1 Spider M o n k ey ) w e re the tw in h a lf brothers o f the H e ro T w in s. G ifte d in a ll the arts, p a rtic u la rly song, D A N C E , W R IT IN G , and carving, H u n B atz and H u n C huen w e re not beyond jealousy o f th e ir younger brothers, and trie d hard to subdue them , leaving them w hen young to perish on an a n th ill and in bram bles and la te r dem anding th a t the younger brothers do th e ir h u nting fo r them . As usual, th e H e ro T w in s had the last laugh: they convinced th e ir tw in h a lf brothers to scale a tree to b ring dow n birds stunned by a blow gun. W h en H u n B atz and H u n C huen reached the birds, they found th a t the tree had grow n, liftin g them so high th a t they could no longer descend. T h e H e ro T w in s advised them to u n tie th e ir loincloths to tra il behind them w hereupon these suddenly becam e tails - H u n B atz and H u n C huen had tu rn ed in to monkeys. These m onkey tw ins occur w id e ly in Classic M a y a a rt as the patron gods o f a rt, w ritin g , and calculating. Som etim es rendered as actual m onkeys, a t o th er tim es as hum ans w ith certain m onkey a ttrib u tes, the M o n k ey

a tzin w e n t firs t, becom ing th e sun, and then

T h e 400 rab b its (C e n izo n

fofocA&n) o f

C e n tra l M e x ic a n lo re w e re d ru n kard s, associ­ ate d

w ith

MAYAHUEL,

goddess

of

PULQUE.

W ith in the TEMPLE p re cin c t o f T e n o c h titla n , the 44th tem p le , th e C en izo n fofocA #n in fecpan, w as d ed icated to these rab bits. R ab b it, or T o c h tli, w as the 8 th day sign in the C e n tra l M e x ica n CALENDAR and one o f the fo u r YEARBEARERS. In th e TRECENA 1 M a z a tl, the day sign 2 R a b b it was p a rtic u la rly u n fo rtu ­ n ate: those born on this d ay and fo r several th e re a fte r w e re given to drunkenness. COYOLXAUHQUI, HUITZILOPOCHTLl's sister, was id e n tifie d by E d u ard Seler as a m oon goddess, h er ow n lig h t shattered and d im inish ed by H u itzilo p o c h tli, although th e re is no textu al confirm ation o f the id e n tific a tio n . In tw o separate im ages a t th e sacred p re cin c t o f T e n o c h titla n , C oyolxauhqui's d ism em bered tw o-dim ensional im age was carved on a round stone a t th e base o f H u itzilo p o c h tli's p yram id , and h e r la rg e, lifeless, th re e -d im e n ­ sional head p ro b ab ly rested on the tem p le steps, both possibly references to th e m oon. Am ong the Classic M a y a , a young, b e a u ti­ fu l w om an was th e m oon goddess, and she fre q u e n tly sits on th e crescent o f th e M a y a glyph fo r m oon, b earin g a ra b b it in h er arm s. Am ong the M a y a , although the m oon was also id e n tifie d w ith the ra b b it, the fu ll moon in p a rtic u la r - as opposed to any o th er phase m ay have been associated w ith the moon goddess. T h e nam e o f this goddess is not know n, b u t she is not ixcHEL, as is often alleged; Ixch el is an old goddess. M a n y m odern M a y a b elieve th a t the


119

M OUNTAINS

fem ale moon was dim m ed a fte r a squabble w ith her husband the sun, and th a t she m ay have lost an eye in the q u a rre l. In a m odem Zapotee story, a p a ir o f orphan ch ild ren w ho later become the sun and m oon escape from a sweathouse before th e ir apotheosis. See a /s o CREATION ACCOUNTS.

m ortuary

bundles

In

m any

parts

of

M esoam erica, the rem ains o f im p o rta n t in d i­ viduals w ere not b u ried a t the tim e o f DEATH , but w ere ra th e r placed in BUNDLES - a form of the sacred bundle. A ccording to A ztec b elief, the sacred god bundles a re sim ply the funerary bundles o f those CODS w ho w ere sacrificed fo llo w in g the creation o f the Bfth sun a t TEOTiHUACAN. Both d e ity and fu n e ra ry bundles took a som ew hat hum an form and

Mixtee moon sign containing a rabbit, Stone of Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, Late Postclassic period.

w ore masks; am ong these w e re possibly included the fam ous stone masks o f T e o tihuacan. O n Stela 4 o f T ik a l, the E a rly Classic ru ler C u rl Snout holds a sacred bundle bear­ ing the mask o f TLALOC. A t T ik a l, m asked m ortuary bundles appear as e arly as the Protoclassic period. B u ria l 85, datin g to 50 B e , contained the rem ains o f a m o rtu ary bundle accom panied by a fuchsite mask. F o r the Postclassic perio d m o rtu ary bundles are w e ll docum ented. Am ong the M ixtees, it was usual fo r kings to be preserved a fte r death in m asked fu n e ra ry bundles; a CAVE a t Chalcatongo served as the repository for the bundles o f M ixte e kings from the g reat dynasty o f T ila n tongo. F o r the Tarascans o f M ichoacán, a m ortuary bundle was m ade from the crem ated rem ains o f the king. A dorned w ith a TURQUOISE m ask, this bundle was b u ried in a TOMB placed a t the base o f the TEMPLE dedicated to the god C u ric av eri. T h e Tarascans also fashioned bundles from the heads o f w arrio rs slain in com bat. A fte r perfo rm ing a night vig il w ith offerings, the Tarascans burned the w a rrio r bundles, w ith the crem ated rem ains being placed in ceram ic vessels. This Tarascan rite relates to the A ztec custom o f m aking bundles from the bodies o f slain w arriors. B edecked w ith PAPER orna­ m ents, these bundles received hom age in the form o f Music and offerings before being burned. See a/so CREATION ACCOUNTS. t m ountains M a n y m ountains in ancient M e x ­ ico and G u atem ala w e re h eld to be sacred. Some o f these w e re active volcanoes, some d orm ant, w h ile others w e re not volcanic a t a ll, b u t ra th e r m ountains in p ro m in en t and

Aztec. The bundle is portrayed as Mixcoatl (left), wearing turquoise regalia.


M O U NTAINS d ra m a tic

!ZI) locations, fre q u e n tly w ith

CAVES.

and v isit them in cuwNC ritu als. A t each m oun­

A m ong the M a y a , M ixte es , and A ztecs, com ­

ta in cross, fresh p in e boughs and fin w o w are

m u n ities w e re nam ed a fte r th e ir m ountains;

o ffe red , candles lit, prayers said, and c u rer and

in d e ed the v ery N a h u a tl w o rd fo r com m u nity,

p a tie n t d rin k rounds o f hom em ade sugar cane

a/fepefV,

m eans

ru m . Ancestors liv e in the sacred m ountains

M ex ica n

p lace-nam es

w a te r-m o u n ta in .

C e n tra l th e

th a t rin g Z in a c a n ta n , and each is classiEed as

m o untain g lyp h , re flec tin g th e g re a t n u m b er

m ale or fe m a le . Each m o untain has speciEc

o f places nam ed in this w ay.

associations; one can b rin g RAIN, fo r exam ple,

o ften

in clu d e

F ro m e a rly tim es, m ountains fre q u e n tly

and a n o th er h ea t. In th e 20th c., the K ekchi

d e te rm in e d the siting o f com m unities. T h e

practiced continence and fasted b efo re m aking

O lm ec s e ttlem e n t a t C h alcatzin g o lies in the

PILGRIMAGES to CAVES on m o u n tain tops.

shadow o f a d ra m atic igneous plug o f a

M esoam erican peoples fre q u e n tly b u ilt th e ir in the form o f sym bolic m ountains.

m o u n tain , and M o n te A lb an is a m ountain

TEM PLES

its e lf, flatten e d and shaped by generations o f

M a y a tem ples in the Chenes region are entered

people to accom m odate hum an settlem e n t.

through g reat m onster m ouths th a t lead sym ­

T h e unusual flu te d shape o f the Erst O lm ec

b o lically to the h e a rt o f th e

PYRAMID, a t L a V e n ta , suggests an a tte m p t a t

o f the m ountain. C opán T e m p le 22 is such a

m aking an a rtific ia l "vo lcan o " along the non-

sym bolic m ountain w ith a m onster m outh fo r­

EARTH,

o r the in te rio r

volcanic G u lf C oast, although some scholars

m ing a cave en tra n ce ; the

b eliev e that tim e and w e a th e r have sim ply

from its cornices suggest th a t it m ay have sym­

eroded w h at was a four-sided p yram id .

HUACAN s north-south axis leads d ire c tly north

bolized the m ountain w h e re m aize originated. E p ig rap h ic research by D a v id S tu art and

to C e rro G ordo; tra d itio n a lly know n also as

Stephen Houston re ve ale d th a t the C lassic and

T en a m , M o th e r o f Stone, this dead volcano gurgles from w a te r trapped inside, the very

m ountains, or u/tz. T h e so-called C auac M o n ­

T E O T i-

im age o f the a /fe p e f/. T h e M a y a c ity o f A guateca is positioned beside a deep fissure, and this c le ft m ountain is the actual sym bol o f th a t city's toponym in M a y a hieroglyphic W R IT IN C .

T h e tw in p yram id dedicated to TLALOC and H u rrziL O P O C ü T L ! in the sacred p recin ct o f T en o c h titla n was positioned against the tw o sm oldering volcanoes to the east - Popoca­ tep e tl (Sm oking M o u n ta in ) and Ixtaccih u atl (W h ite W om an) - w hom the Aztecs id e n tifie d as a m arried couple, d eified and revered . L iv e rock shrines w e re carved a t M a lin a lc o and Texcotzingo, and, in e a rlie r tim es, at D ain zu . Shrines w e re fre q u e n tly erected a t the peaks o f m ountains. T o the east o f T en o c h titla n , the T lalo q u e w e re thought to re tre a t w ith th e ir th u n d er­ bolts to the T lalo c M ountains. QUETZALCOATL jo u rn eyed to T o n acatep etl (Sustenance M o u n ta in ) to End the origin o f MAIZE; in o rder to obtain m aize fo r hum ankind, he transform ed h im self in to an a n t and stole some kernels. S im ilar accounts o f the origin o f m aize are know n am ong the M a y a , and the Q uiche called the m ountain o f o rigin P axil. M o u n ta in shrines are com m on today am ong tra d itio n a l peoples in M exico and G u atem ala. T h e M a y a Zinacantecos, fo r exam ple, erect crosses a t m ountain shrines

M A izE C O D s

Postclassic M a y a re fe rre d

Eourishing

to pyram ids as

ster, nam ed a fte r the stony cauac m arkings app earin g on this beast, is a c tu a lly a M a y a re n ­ d erin g o f a zoom orphic m o u n tain . In the sacred p recin ct o f the A ztecs, the tw in p y ra m id d e d i­ cated to T la lo c and H u itzilo p o c h tli sym bol­ ic ally recreated COATEPEC, H ill o f the S erpent, w h ere H u itzilo p o c h tli's m iraculous BIRTH took place. T o d rill N e w F ire , th e A ztecs re tre a te d to C itla lte p e c , H ill o f th e Star. C H ic o M O Z T O C , the Seven C aves, th e place o f o rig in fo r m ost C e n ­ tra l M exicans, is usually d ep icted w ith in a m ountain, and C u lh u acan , C u rv e d M o u n ta in , was a tra d itio n a l p lace o f ancestors. In the 13th V E IN T E N A , T e p e ilh u itl, th e Aztecs celeb rated w h a t w as know n as the M o u n ta in Feast. D ed ic ate d to P opocatepetl and Izta c c ih u atl by the A ztecs, the cele b ratio n was w id e ly c arried out by C e n tra l M exican peoples in honor o f various m ountains. Dough im ages in the shape o f m ountains w e re fashioned o f ground A M A R A N T H seeds to honor the dead, p a rtic u la rly those w ho had d ied a DEATH associated w ith the T la lo q u e - by Hood, d row ning, or L IG H T N IN G - rein fo rcin g the connection b etw een T la lo c , m ountain, and W A T E R . F iv e sacriHcial victim s, fo u r w om en and one m an, then im personated m ountains, w e re slain by h e a rt extrusion and then decapi­ tated . T h e dough m ountains, E nally, w ere also d ecap itated and c a re fu lly consumed in a ritu a l com m union. T h e la m e and crip p led ,


121

MUSIC

whose deform ities w e re thought to have been sent by T lalo c (see DEFORMITY), sought a cure in the consum ption o f the a m aran th dough, áee a/so C A LE N D A R ; C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS ; T E R M [ \ A T I 0 N R ITU A LS .

muan ow! T h e screech ow l (O fu s as/o) occu­ pies an im portant role in Classic and Postclassic M aya iconography. T h e M a y a m onth o f M uan is nam ed a fte r the Yucatec term fo r this b ird . T h e glyph fo r this m onth, th e head of the m uan o w l, is fre q u e n tly accom panied by phonetic elem ents suggesting th a t the term m uan is o f considerable a n tiq u ity . T h e muan ow l can be id e n tifie d by its broad and sharply tipped beak and spotted feathers. Q u ite o ften, a p air of large spotted feathers appear on the brow and the back o f the head, probably re fe rrin g to the h o rn -like fe a th e r tufts o f the screech ow l. In M a y a iconography, the m uan is id e n ti­ fied w ith R A IN , M A IZ E and the U N D E R W O R L D . In Yucatec, the term m uan also bears conno­ tations o f clouds, rain and m ist. I t is probably for this reason th a t the ra in god C H A C is freq u en tly associated w ith the m uan ow l in Classic and Postclassic M a y a a rt. O n page 78 o f the M a d rid Codex, Chac paints the blackened ta il feathers o f the b ird . In Classic iconography, m aize grow th com m only appears w ith the m uan o w l, possibly to show the rain b ird as a m aize-b rin g er. T h e m uan ow l is also id e n tifie d w ith the m ajor M a y a d eity re fe rre d to as God L in the Schellhas system o f d eity classification. A god o f the U n d erw o rld and o f M E R C H A N T S , God L usually w ears a broad h at topped by the m uan ow l.

(Aboye) Priest presenting an offering to a cleft mountain, Nochistlan Vase, Late Postclassic Mixtee, Oaxaca.

(AgAf) Maya glyph for mountain, or u/fz, Copan Stela 1, Late Classic period.

The Muan Owl, Dresden Codex, p. 7, Postclassic Yucatán. In Maya iconography, the Muan Owl frequently appears with maize foliage upon its head.

3 e e a / s o OW LS; S C H E LLH A S CODS.

music R itu a l often included the perform ance o f m usic. Since there is no Precolum bian m usical n otation, the exact natu re of M esoam erican music rem ains unknow n; w h a t is know n is reconstructed from descrip­ tions, depictions, and surviving instrum ents them selves. Singing accom panied in stru ­ m ents, and both singers and players trained rigorously. T h e M esoam erican ensem ble encom ­ passed a standard range o f instrum ents, going back a t least to Classic tim es: flutes, ocarinas, gourd rattles, bone rasps, tu rtle shells struck w ith d eer antlers, a larg e, u p rig h t drum (called the in N a h u a tl, the p a x in M a y a ), a slit gong (called the feponaztA in N a h u a tl, the funA u/ in M a y a ), a hand drum

Old man and woman playing music with rattles and drums. While the man beats a Aue/mef/ drum between his legs, the woman strikes a turtle shell with a deer antler, Codex Laud, p. 34, Late Postclassic period.


1Z2

MAHUAL

instrum ents b efo re the C onquest, nor fo r the

avaricious, indigent, envious, absconding He grunts, sounds AusAy, maAes one s ears ring, Ae is resfiess, /brgetiu/, vio/enf, indigent; Ae absconds, Ae brags; Ae is presumptuous, vain

m arim b a

ÍF C ;

held in the crook o f th e a rm , beHs, and trum pets m ade o f conch shells, w ood, or gourds. T h e re is no evidence o f a n y stringed

duced

(xylophone). T h e

stringed

Spanish in tro ­

instrum ents

and

A fric a n

slaves brought th e m arim b a. B one rasps have been excavated from E a rly F o rm a tiv e sites, b u t the Brst depictions o f m usicians ap p ear tow ard

th e end o f the

F o rm a tiv e e ra, in W est M exico . T h e 8th c. M a y a fre q u e n tly show a ll o r some o f the instrum ents o f the M eso am erican ensem ble

S u rvivin g A zte c m usical instrum ents, p ar­ tic u la rly

th e larg e drum s, h ea r the icon­

ography o f w a r and

S A C R IF IC E ,

and w e re pro­

b ab ly used m ost o ften in sacrificial rituals. V ictim s them selves fre q u e n tly m ade music: th e

T E Z C A T L tP O C A

im p erso n ato r liv e d fo r a year

in th a t ro le and le arn e d to p lay the flu te and w h is tle. T h e fes tivitie s fo r th e VEINTENA of

and confirm th a t they w e re p layed on a w id e

Toxcat! in clu d ed constant song and DANCE,

v a rie ty o f occasions, in clu d in g both HUMAN

b u t - as if to sym bolize his ow n DEATH - w hen

SACRIFICE and ACCESSION, and by UNDERWORLD

anim als as w e ll as hum ans. T h e m usicians usuaBy ap p ear in a fixed o rd er, w ith flutes, rattles and tu rtle shells app earin g b efo re the large drum ; trum pets and the hand drum b ring up the rear. A n ab b re viated b u t s im ila r m usical group played a t the w edding c ere­

the im p erso n ato r ascended the T ezcatlipo ca tem p le fo r sacrifice, he broke his flu te and w h istle and le ft th e sh a tte red pieces on the steps. A m ong the A ztecs, the gods MACUiLxocHiTL and

x o c H iP iL L i

supervised

the

dom ain

of

m usic.

mony o f the M ix te e princess 6 M on key. M esoam erican music was larg ely percussive, and nothing like a European scale was know n. T h e Spanish described A ztec music as d o le­ ful and tuneless, b u t they w ere nevertheless m oved by it, and they recognized the achieve­ m ents o f court perform ers over the less skilled ru ra l players. A ztec m usicians p e rfo r­ m ed a w id e rep erto ry o f m usic, a ll o f it by h ea rt, b u t in ven tio n was also considered noble. Just as they credited the Toltecs w ith the in ven tio n o f WRiTiNC and counting, the Aztecs a ttrib u te d the inven tio n o f m any songs to the Toltecs. E xp licit characteristics in fo r­ m ed th e ir notions o f good and bad music:

TAe good singer /is/ o í sound voice. Good, sound /is/ Ais voice; weZ/ rounded /are/ Ais words. /He is/ of good sAarp memory, keeping ¿Ae songs in mind; refen dve, nof ibrgedu/. He sings, cries ouf, enunciates cZear/y; /Ae sings/ wiiA wed-rounded voice, in fud voice, in iaiseffo. /H e sings/ soif/y; Ae tempers Ais voice, accompanies /udicicusiy, gives fAe pifcA, iowers /¿Ae voice/, raises if. He reduces if to medium; Ae uses if moJenafeZy. He practices; Ae improves Ais voice. He composes, sets to music, originates /songs/. He sings songs, sings others' songs, provides music for others, instructs others. The had singer /is/ hoarse, AusAy, coarse­ voiced; crude, dud, Aeari/ess, uninfe/Agenf. He revo/ts me; Ae is fraudulent, vaing/orious, arrogant. /H e is/ haughty, fboAsh, oAstrnafe,

nahua! A com m on w o rd in th e ethnographic lite ra tu re o f M exico , naAuaZ derives from the N ah u a t! term nauaZA, sig n ifyin g a fo rm ­ changing sorcerer or w itc h . T o th e e a rly C o lo n ial priests, these form -changers w e re not considered sim ply to be baseless super­ stitio n , b u t w e re a source o f m uch concern. W ritin g in 1600, F ra y Juan B au tista w a rn ed o f n ative sorcerers th a t tran sfo rm ed them selves in to D ocs, w easels, O W L S , chickens, and JACUARS. T h e 17th c. parish p rie s t R u iz de A larco n m entioned specific cases o f n a tiv e fo rm changers and explained th e ir pow ers by claim ­ in g th e y had pacts w ith Satan. A ltho u g h the concept o f naAuaZ recalls E uropean concepts o f w itc h c ra ft, it is c le a rly o f n a tiv e o rigin and is closely tie d to n a tiv e concepts o f sham anic p o w er and tran sfo rm atio n . T E Z C A T L IP O C A , the sorcerer p a r exceZ/ence o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , was b eliev ed to be able to transform h im s elf in to a ja g u a r. T h e concept o f ja g u a r form -changers also appears am ong the F o rm a tiv e O lm ecs in the form o f "tra n s ­ form atio n fig u res," stone sculptures th a t dis­ p lay a kneelin g m an being tu rn e d in to a ja g u ar. A long w ith th e a n im al alter-egos, the naAuaZ could be transform ed in to a n atu ral force, such as LIGHTNING. A lthough naAuaZ sorcerers w e re fre q u e n tly fea red fo r th e ir


123

NAMES AND TITLES

ability to com m it m alig n an t acts, they could also serve as protectors o f the com m unity. D uring the C o lo n ial e ra , m any n ativistic movem ents w ere led by n a h u a / sorcerers. T h e nahuaV is g en e rally id e n tic al to the M aya concept o f the UAY. R ecent epigraphic advances reveal the presence o f u ay a lte regos am ong the Classic M a y a e lite . H o w e v e r, it is uncertain w h e th e r these Classic texts refer to actual form -changers or to s p irit com panions. .See a/so SHAMANISM ; TONAL. names and titles In m any parts o f M eso am erica, individuals w e re nam ed fo r the day in the 260-day CALENDAR on w hich they w e re born or bap tized . Because the 260-d ay calen 足 dar was a d ivin in g calendar, these nam es a ll had very specific auguries: in the TRECENA 1 D e e r, the day 5 M on key was a good day (" H e who was then born was lik e the w orkings and qualities o f the day: the te llin g o f tales, and jesting . . . th e re was no a n g e r"), b u t next day, 6 Grass, was evil ( " . . . he w ho was then born lived only in torm en t on e arth , suffered pain and tro u b le, and found afflictio n s"). C alen d rical nam ing p re va ile d in C e n tra l M exico, O axaca, and in parts o f the G u lf region. T h e M ix te e c u ltu ra l hero 9 W in d , for exam ple, is know n g en erally by his calend足 rical nam e, although he is also id e n tifie d w ith QUETZALCOATL. In no region o f the M a y a w ere calendrical names used (although divinations for birthdays w ere calculated from the 260day calen d ar), and no one knows w h eth er they w ere used at TEOTiHUACAN. In d ivid u als carried other nam es as w e ll as th e ir calendrical ones, and these som etim es ran in fam ilies. T h e M otecuhzom a (H e W ho is A ngry L ik e a L o rd ) w ho ru led at the tim e o f the Conquest bore the same nam e as his g ran d fath er, w ho then becam e know n as H ueh u e M otecuhzom a, th a t is, O ld M o te 足 cuhzom a, or M otecuhzom a the E ld er. T h e M ixte e king and hero 8 D e e r was also know n as T ig e r C la w ; Princess 6 M o n k ey was given a new nam e or title , S erpent Q u ech q u em itl, a fte r h er v a lia n t victory over h e r enem ies. M ixte e deities and oracles g en erally bore calendrical nam es too: 6 M o n k ey was given h er n ew nam e by 9 Grass, a fem a le oracle. A t the tim e o f the C onquest, the M a y a o f Yucatan bore fa m ily lineag e nam es. Am ong the ru ling fam ily nam es, m any o f w hom dom inated in d iv id u al provinces, w e re the Cocom, the X iu , th e C u p u l, and the C h e l. In the case o f the Classic M a y a , nam es w e re often

Aztec musicians and dancers, Florentine Codex, Book 4, 16th c.

The Aztec /mehuef/, or upright wooden drum, used in music足 making, from Toluca.


1Z4

NEW FIRE CEREMONY ch aracteristic o f a p a rtic u la r lin eag e: B ird Jaguar the G re a t (reig n ed AD 7 5 2 -c . 7 7 0 ), as he has been dubbed by m odem investigators (his nam e glyphs are p ro b ab ly to be read

o r the d au b in g ). W h ile an a rtis t m ight sign as m aker, th e o w n e r too m ight proclaim possession, e g. "m y cacao p o t" or "m y e arspool" o r "m y te m p le ."

Yaxom B alam ) was the fou rth king o f Yax chilan to b ear th a t nam e, and both his fa th e r

N e w F ire cerem ony .see CALENDAR; EIRE

and his son had the nam e Shield Jaguar (again,

know n as C hac C h el. A com pletely distinctive

n ig h t In tra d itio n a l M eso am erican thought, th e n ig h t was w id e ly reg ard ed w ith a certain am o un t o f d re ad and fe a r. A t n ig h t, form -

set o f nam es characterized the Palenque ru lin g

changers and .dem ons from the perim eters of

fam ily, and the same can be said o f most

th e social w o rld could w re ak havoc upon hum ans. D u rin g th e tim e o f darkness, spooks

a m odem nicknam e: the glyphs m ay have been read Itz B alam ), though his son was also

M a y a cities and th e ir ru lin g fam ilies. T h e evidence

from

P alenque

shows

too

th a t

w om en in d iffe re n t generations m ight have the same nam e. M a y a nam es freq u e n tly incor­ porated the significant anim als o f th e ir n atu ral w orld: the jACUAH, SNAKE, QUETZAL, BAT, ta p ir and PECCARY for exam ple. O fte n , am ong the glyphic symbols used for w u rriN C th e ir ow n nam es, M a y a kings nam ed th e ir parents as w e ll. M ay a hieroglyphic w ritin g also reveals that the M ay a n o b ility held a great m any titles, only some o f w hich can now be deciphered. Specific rankings w ere spelled out, such as lord (aJiau), sacred lord (ch'uJ aAau, applied only to a king), or sun lord (m aA A?na or chiÁFna or Avn/ch). A secondary stratum o f rulers, probably regional governors, w ere known by the title saha/, to w hich they could be eith e r born or appointed. Both a saA a/and a c h u /a h a u could append CAPTIVES' nam es to th e ir own (e g. "captor o f F lin t B a t") as w e ll as a count o f captives. K ing B ird Jaguar the G re a t o f Yaxchilán counted h im self the "capto r o f 20 captives" most o f his life , b u t on one o f his last m onum ents, his count w e n t up to 21. Some captives m ay have been given new nam es upon th e ir d efeat: a t Y axchilán, some cap tive nam es re fe r to the day nam e on w hich they w e re taken: both " M o l" and "C h u e n ," fo r exam ple, w e re captured on those p a rtic ­ u la r days. A fam ous captive lik e the Palenque king K an X u l was p u b licly nam ed and p o r­ trayed a t T o n in a a fte r his d efeat. C ap tives' nam es often appear on th e ir thighs, up p er arm s, or clothing - perhaps as signs o f h u m iliatio n or because they w ere indeed tattooed or em blazoned fo r p ublic recognition. Specific titles distinguish o th er noble m em ­ bers o f society: scribes and artists signed not only th e ir nam es to w orks o f a rt b u t also th e ir titles (ah dzib: he o f the w ritin g ; id za f: a rtis t or w ise m an; ah naah: he o f the w a te r lily

and dem ons o f th e UNDERWORLD rose to the surface o f th e EARTH and the heavens. I t was com m only b e liev ed th a t the sou! traveled about w h ile one slep t, exposing the in d iv id u a l to g re a t danger. D ream s w e re o ften consid­ ered to be m em ories o f the soul's nocturnal journeys and exploits. Thus in most M a y a n lan ­ guages, the term UAY o ften bears connotations o f sleep, d re am , fo rm -ch an g er, or s p irit com ­ panion. T h e forces o f the night often d ia m e tri­ cally oppose the o rd ered w o rld o f the SUN and d ay lig h t. Thus fo r exam ple, d u rin g the N e w F ire v ig il (see FIRE), the A ztecs g re a tly fea red th a t the s te lla r dem ons o f darkness, the TZiTZiM iM E, w o u ld plunge the e n tire w o rld in to darkness and chaos, ^ee a/so CREATION ACCOUNTS; DAWN.

num bers A ll M e s o a m e r ic a n p e o p le s used a v ig e s im a l, o r base 2 0 , system fo r co u n tin g , r a th e r th a n th e d e c im a l, o r b ase 10, system d e v e lo p e d fo r A ra b ic n u m e ra ls . T h e M ix te e s a n d A ztec s, a m o n g o th ers, used dots to re c o rd n u m b e rs : 12 dots w o u ld m e a n 12 th ing s o r th e co efB cient 12, w h ile th e M a y a used b a ra n d -d o t n u m e ra tio n : th e b a r eq u als E ve, so tw o ba rs a n d tw o dots w o u ld m e a n 12 things o r th e co efB cien t 12. I n C e n tr a l M e x ic o , th e te rm c e a iz o n lit e r a lly m e a n t 400, p a rtic u la rly in counts o f tr ib u te , b u t i t c o u ld also be used fig u ra tiv e ly to m e a n a la rg e q u a n tity o f u n s p e c ifie d a m o u n t, as in

th e

C e n tz o n

# u itz n a h M a , th e 400 sons o f coATLicuE, p e r ­ sonifications o f th e m a n y STARS o f th e h e ave n s.

T h e Classic M a y a could configure any n um ber not only in b a r-a n d -d o t n u m eratio n b u t by a head or fu ll-fig u re v a ria n t. In this m ore e lab o rate fo rm at, th e num bers 1 to 12 are a ll d istinct, b u t the num bers 14 to 19 re p e a t the heads o f 4 to 9, w ith the a dd itio n o f a skeletal ja w or a skeletal hand over the ja w . This skeletal ad d itio n m ust have had m uch th e sam e m eaning as the " te e n " th a t English speakers add to the num bers 13 to 19.


125

OLMEC GODS

N um ber 13 could be represented by a distinct head (see WATER LELYSERPENT) or as a "te e n ." T h e head variants o f 1 to 13 represent various deit­ ies : 4, for exam ple, is the sun god, 8 is the MAIZE G o o , and 9isX b alan q u e, o n eo f the H e ro T w in s who functioned as the patrons o f the num bers. In A ztec n um eration, dots in d icate num ­ bers up to 20. A banner equals 20, a fe a th e r or le a f represents 400, and a copa/ bag indicates 8000. W h en the au th o r o f th e Codex

The Aztec sign for the starry night, Codex Mendoza, 16th c.

T elleriano-R em ensis w a n te d to in d ic ate th a t 20,000 captives had been k ille d in 1487 AD a t the rededication o f the T em p lo M a y o r, he used 2 copa/ bags and 10 feathers. C e rta in num bers also h eld m etap h orical m eaning: 1 m eant the beginning o f things; 9 re fe rre d to the levels o f the UNDERW ORLD; and 13 em bodied the strata o f th e heavens.

p

ww

2

10

o

$

9

20

400

40

*

*. +*

1

4

* 6

8000

SB 19

Aztec (top row) and Maya (second row) numbers.

obsidian A dark volcanic glass, obsidian was g reatly p rized for its razor-sharp edge and lustrous sheen. F ro m E a rly F o rm a tiv e tim es on, it was trad ed w id e ly in ancient M esoam erica. P a rticu lar obsidian sources w ere held in high regard, especially Pachuca, near T u la , w hich yielded a fine o live green v arie ty. Q u ite freq u e n tly , obsidian was p repared in the form o f polyhedral cores, w hich resem ble Hu ted cones. T h e prism atic blades obtained from these cores are razor sharp, and served as one o f the m ore com mon B L O O D L E T T IN G instrum ents in ancient M esoam erica. Am ong the Postclassic inhabitants o f highland M e x ­ ico, the blades w ere set along the edge o f a w ooden club, the m acua/m /f/. Because o f its black, lustrous surface, obsid­ ian was also used as a M IR R O R stone. D u rin g the Protoclassic and Classic periods, a sim ple fractu red plane form ed the reHective surface. H o w ev er, during the L a te Postclassic period, ground and polished obsidian m irrors w ere also present. T h e C e n tra l M exican d eity TEZ C A T L iP O C A probably personified such a m irro r. T h e 16th c. C akchique! M a y a com m unicated w ith the C hay A bah, the sacred obsidian stone. This stone seems to have had oracular powers and spoke d ire ctly to the C akchiquel. Q u ite possibly, the C h ay A b ah was a sacred obsidian m irro r. See a/so

D iv iN A T iO N .

O lm ec gods T h e Olm ecs w e re the first people in M esoam erica to create a codified religious

Late Classic Maya head variants for selected numbers, showing how 14, 15 and 16 are skeletal adaptations of 4, 5 and 6. 4, can

14,cantahun

5. ho

15, ho!ahun

6, uac

16, uadahun

The Aztec sign for Itzteyocan, composed of an obsidian core and blade atop a stone and the sign for a road; Matrícula de Tributos, 16th c. Central Mexico.


!ZH

OLMEC CODS universe th a t w e can recognize today through th e surviving a rt. in fact, it was th e existence o i a standard

sym bolic code th a t forced

archaeologists, beginning in the 1930s, to face the fa c t th a t some c u ltu re had preceded th a t

lin g , o pen-m outhed and uauaMy toothlewg face o f an in fa n t; this is the O lm ec d e ity moat com m only h eld in th e arm s by an a d u lt. C le ft h ead ed , he w ears a headband and w avy PAPER adornm ents th a t c rin k le along the side o f his

o f the Classic M a y a . B efo re this c u ltu re had

face, in fro n t o f th e ears. C rin k le d paper

been docum ented archaeologicaU y o r its d ate

ornam ents distinguish th e rain god o f C e n tra l

p ro ven , the term "c u ltu ra m a d re ," o r m o ther

M ex ico m any g enerations la te r and m ay d e riv e fro m this e a rly ch ara cterizatio n .

c u ltu re , had been in tro d uced. T h e O lm ecs are now recognized to have developed high

T h e m ost im p o rta n t characteristic o f Jorale­

c iv iliza tio n in M eso am erica, w ith a charis­

m on G od n is the foliage th a t sprouts from

m atic cast o f d eities , some o f w hom w e re to

the c le ft in his h ead, possibly in d ic atin g a

survive, a lb e it in a changed fo rm , fo r 2500

MAIZE god. T h e nose o f this c re a tu re seems to

years, u n til the Spanish C onquest in the 16th

be anth ro p o m o rp hic; the m outh is usually

c. T h e term "O lm e c " its e lf is sim ply the nam e

toothless and open, lik e th a t o f th e R ain B aby,

used by the A ztecs to re fe r to the "ru b b e r

b u t in som e cases it has b ird characteristics.

p e o p le ," m eaning the people o f the G u lf

A fu ll body is ra re ly d ep icted . T h is ch aracter

C oast; th ere is no clue o f the nam e this

m ay also sym bolize the fe rtile e a rth or MOUN

c iv iliza tio n m ay have used to describe itse lf.

TAIN fro m w hich m aize grow s. T h e P ersonified E a rth C av e (Joralem on

A ccording to the sunuNC HYPOTHESIS, the W E R E -jA C U A R ,

G od i-B) sym bolizes the e a rth and e n try in to

brought to life by the m ating o f a fem ale

the e a rth . I t occurs as a ctu al CAVE entrances and also as fram es fo r seated ru lers, both on

O lm ecs' p rin cip al d e ity was a

hum an and a m ale JAG UA R , or a m ale hum an and a fem ale ja g u a r. T h e "c u ltu ra m a d re " theory proposed th a t w ere-jag u ars w ere essentially RAIN gods, and from O lm ec rain gods one could see the evolution o f a ll m ajor M a y a , C en tra! M ex ica n , and Zapotee deities. M o re recen tly (and w ith fa r m ore exam ples o f O lm ec a rt than w ere a v a ila b le to an e a rlie r g en eratio n ) scholars, p a rtic u la rly D a v id Joralem on, have begun to sort out a rich p an ­ theon o f O lm ec deities as w e ll as to recognize the beginnings o f a cosmic structure th a t endured in to la te r c u ltu ra l florescences. G iven the nascent state o f studies o f O lm ec relig io n , the follo w in g guide to O lm ec gods can be n eith e r d e fin itiv e nor com prehensive. O lm ec deities take the form s o f the p o w e r­ fu l anim als o f the tropical ra in forest, w h ere the c u ltu re its e lf arose. P rin cip al d eities include th e S N AK E , h arpy eagle (see E A G L E ), SH A R K , C A IM A N , and JAG UA R , and m any com bi­ nations th ereo f. N o ne has specific sexual characteristics to indicate gender. T h e cosmic structure o f the O lm ecs included a SKY dragon, an EARTH caim an, and the id ea th a t fou r DW ARVES held the sky in place, p robably aligned w ith the card in al points (see D IR E C ­ T IO N S ) and COLO RS. O ne o f the most enduring o f O lm ec d eities is the R ain B aby. O rig in a lly id e n tifie d as a w e re -jaguar, he certain ly has ja g u a r charac­ teristics, p a rtic u la rly in term s o f posture. Joralem on term ed this figure G od iv. T h e R ain B aby has a hum an nose and the squal­

O lm ec

A LTA R S

and on R e lie f 1, C h alcatzin g o .

A lw ays o p en -m aw ed , th e im age is usually toothless. T h e eyes have crossed bands; fo li­ age sprouts fro m the e x te rio r o f th e m aw . T h e O lm ec D rag o n , the p rin c ip a l sky god, p ro b ab ly derives zo o m orphically fro m the crested h arp y eagle. O n e o f the m ost p re va ­ le n t im ages o f O lm ec iconography (Joralem on C od i - A ) , the O lm ec D rag o n includes m any symbols th a t the O lm ecs o fte n chose to re p ­ resent schem atically and in d e p e n d en tly, such as the p a w -w in g m o tif or flam e eyebrow s. These symbols o fte n ap p e ar as th e m otifs on ceram ic seals, and th e y com m only occur on p o ttery found fa r fro m the O lm ec h e a rtla n d along th e C u lf Coast. T h e Shark C od (Joralem on G od vni) occurs ra re ly , b u t has a c le a rly d efin ed shark tooth w hen represented. T h is m ay be a SEA god. T h e F e a th e re d S erpent (Joralem on C od vn) o ften has a crest o f fea th e rs, the rattle s o f a ra ttlesn ake, a forked SER PENT tongue, and m ay flo at in cloud sym bols, perhaps linkin g him to the la te r cloud serpents o f the M a y a , Toltecs, and Aztecs. T h e presence o f QUETZALS and crossed bands over th e head o f the hum an w ho rests against the serpent's body on L a V e n ta M o n u m e n t 19 suggests a read ­ ing, if w ritte n in a M a y a n language, o f kukulcan (q u e tza l = kuk; crossed bands = can or chan), or Q U E T Z A L C O A T L . A n o th er characteristic O lm ec d e ity w ith c le ft head bears a stripe dow n the m id d le o f


127 the face, usually through the eye (Joralem on God vi). Such face p a in t characterizes the ia te r god o f the G u lf Coast and C e n tra l M exico, x iP E T O T E c , b u t the O lm ec creatu re has the d o w n tu m ed beak o f a b ird , and is probably not re late d to X ip e . O th er O lm ec deities a w a it fu rth e r id e n tifi­ cation. Some are basic w ere-jag u ars, m any have c le ft heads; some have in terlo ckin g teeth , lik e those o f a caim an, w h ile others have only upper fangs and y et others are toothless. See a/so INTRODUCTION. omens T h e peoples o f ancien t M esoam erica keenly observed strange b eh avior and events in the n atu ra l w o rld , signs th a t could p ortend events o f everyday life or even w o rld destruc­ tion. Because they regarded the h eavenly bodies as especially im p o rtan t, these signs constitute one o f the m ore com m on subjects in the Prehispanic m anuscripts. Possibly because o f th e ir proxim ity to the heavens and th e ir speech-like qu alities, birds w e re w id e ly regarded as omens. Even today, OWLS are considered to be harbingers o f D E A T H . T h e Yucatec M a y a n term m u f signifies both b ird and augury. In the Postclassic D resden Codex, this term appears in scenes illu stratin g the y ou th fu l Goddess I (see SC H E LLH A S G O D s ) w ith the M U A N o w L , the Q U E T Z A L , and other birds, here re fe rrin g to "good" or "b a d " auguries. M a n y n ative peoples noted strange, disturb­ ing omens ju s t before the com ing o f the Spaniards; for the Aztecs, Sahagun records eig h t e v il signs. Am ong these omens w ere tw o probable com ets, LIGHTNING striking the TEMPLE o f xiuH TECU H TLi, the sound o f a crying wom an during m any nights, and a strange b ird w ith a d ivin ato ry MIRROR in its forehead. T h e Tarascans o f M ichoacán noted evil omens fo re te llin g the Spanish Conquest. T h e y also described tw o com ets, and added th at th e ir tem ples w ere con tin u ally being destroyed. W h en re b u ilt, these structures w ould only catch FIRE again, and th e ir w alls tum ble to the ground. See a/sc DiviNATiON. O m eteo tl L ite ra lly the "tw o go d ," O m eteo tl em bodies the C e n tra l M exican p rin cip le o f This d u al, bisexual god ru led over the highest heaven o f the N a h u a tl schem e, O m eyocan, "P lace o f D u a lity ," in the form o f O m etecu h tli and his consort O m ecih u atl.

D U A L IT Y .

T o g eth er, O m e tec u h tli and O m e cih u a tl w e re the ever-p resen t progenitors, fo r they sent

OMETEOTL Olmec gods: (right) a probable depiction of the Olmec rain baby, San Lorenzo Monument 52, Early Formative period. A deep trough is cut down the back of this sculpture, and it is possible that it served as part of the stone drainage systems used at San Lorenzo.

(Below) Joralemon Cod VI, incised pottery vessel, Tlapacoya, Middle Formative Olmec.


OMEYOCAN

iz a

th e souis o f those a bo u t to be born to the surface o f the EARTH. O m e te c u h tli and O m e ci-

the d ark and d e a th ly U n d e rw o rld . In the C e n tra ! M ex ica n B orgia G ro u p o f codice*,

h u at! m ay also be id e n tifie d w ith C ipactona!

the ow l can a p p e ar w ith a hum an skull for a

and O xom oco, aged progenitors and perhaps

head. T h e o w l also o ften occupies the bone-

d iv in e g randparents (see

A N C E S TR A L C O U P L E ).

G e n e ra lly not a subject o f a rtis tic rep resen ­

festooned

TEM PLE

of

M 1 C T L A N T E C U H T L !,

the

d eath god, w ho fre q u e n tly w ears an o w l-

tatio n , O m eteo t! had no specific TEMPLE d e d i­

fe a th e r crest. T h e A ztecs c le a rly regarded

cated to him in the sacred p recin ct nor an

ow ls w ith a certain am ount o f fe a r; thus the

active c u lt cele b rated a t one o f the annua!

d read ed n o ctu rn al form -ch an g in g sorcerer w as term e d ¿/acafecoVoí/, or ' ow l m a n /*

vEiKTE\As, but this being was the subject to w hom a m u ltitu d e o f form a! prayers w e re addressed.

Some authors

have

sought to

T h e a n cien t M a y a seem to have had an a m b iv a le n t a ttitu d e tow ard ow ls, id e n tify in g

id e n tify an evo lu tio n through the w orship o f

them

O m eteo t! tow ard m onotheism in la te C e n tra !

horned

M exican

and MAIZE and had associations o f d eath and

thought.

w ith

both

M UAN OW L,

fe rtility

and

DEATH.

fo r exam ple, brought

The R A IN

th e U n d e rw o rld . T h is d u al n atu re can he O m eyocan see OMETEOTL; sxv; TONACATECUHTLi

seen also fo r the o w l messengers o f the

opossum W ith its gray fu r, sham bling g a it,

and messengers fo r th e d eath gods o f X ib a lb a ,

Q u ich e M a y a and

snaggle-toothed

m outh,

the

opossum

(D x /e /p /u s /narstvp/a/is) was id e n tifie d w ith old age in M esoam erica. T h e opossum figures

PO PO LVUH.

A lthough assistants

th e ow ls also assisted X q u ic, the p regn an t w ife o f

HUN HUNAHPU,

surface o f th e

in h e r escape to the

EARTH.

p ro m in en tly in the new year pages o f the M a y a D resden Codex corresponding to the end o f the o!d year. In these scenes, the opossum is !abe!ed m am , a term signifying both an aged g ra n d fath er and the god o f the old year. In Classic M a y a iconography, the opossum appears w ith attrib u te s o f the aged d e ity know n as P A U A H T U N , w ho is probably none o th er than the god o f the dying year. In the M ix te e codices, the opossum is closely id e n tifie d w ith the intoxicating b ev er­ age P U L Q U E . In the Vindobonensis and N u tta ll codices, depictions o f the d ecap itated pulque goddess L ad y 11 S erpent are accom panied by an opossum holding cups fille d w ith pulque. owls As a nocturnal b ird th a t fre q u e n tly resides in CAVES and underground burrow s, the ow l is w id e ly id e n tifie d w ith th e N IG H T and the UNDERWORLD. A bove the entrance to O x to titla n C ave, G u errero , th e re is a M id d le F o rm a tiv e O lm ec p ain tin g o f a m an dressed as a green horned ow l. G reen owls com m only occur in the a rt o f T E O T iH U A C A N , and are q u ite fre q u e n tly placed atop M IR R O R S , symbols them selves o f supernatural caves or passage­ w ays. A n E a rly Postclassic cache fro m the T e m p le o f C hac M o o l a t C hichen Itz á con­ tain e d a finch and a b u rro w in g pygm y o w l placed atop a p y rite m irro r. L ik e o th er birds, owls w e re considered as O M E N S or messengers b etw een hum ans and the d iv in e. Because o f th e ir n a tu ra l affin ities to n ig h t and caves, owls h eld special ties to

P a d d le r Cods Because one o f th e ir p rim a ry actions is to p ad d le a C A N O E , tw o Classic M a y a deities have been nam ed the Paddlers. T h e y app ear in Classic p erio d a rt and in d ic ate a specific p a ir o f oppositions, day and N IG H T , a p p a ren t through the hieroglyphs th a t re p ­ resent them , a^b a/, darkness or n ig h t, and Ain, or day. U n lik e m ost M a y a hieroglyphs, those id e n tify in g the P addlers a re d ra w n w ith in id e n tify in g cartouches th a t w ould seem to rep resen t th e ir canoe, as seen fro m above. T h e O ld Jaguar P a d d ler (n ig h t) usually paddles the bow o f the canoe w h ile the O ld Stingray P ad d ler (d a y ) handles the stern. A lthough alw ays anthropom orphic, the O ld Jaguar P ad d ler shares characteristics w ith a num ber o f aged JAG UA R C O D S , in clu d in g the Jaguar G od o f th e U n d e rw o rld ; he is tooth­ less, w ears a ja g u a r headdress, and usually carries a p addle. T h e O ld Stingray P addler also has an aged, sagging face, and a p e rfo r­ ato r, e ith e r bone o r stingray spine, pierces the septum o f his nose. B oth P addlers w ear the kno tted w aist o rn am en t o f C l o f the P A L E N Q U E T R IA D .

A ccording to M a y a h ieroglyphic texts, the Paddlers are created or born w hen a M a y a king lets B L O O D . In scenes o f B L O O D L E T T IN G ,


129

PALENQUE TRIAD

they freq u e n tly occur in sw irls o f clouds created w hen blood is le t on PAPER and then set afire. T h e ir presence is m ost lik e ly to be invoked on period ending dates. W h en they paddle th e ir canoe, the P addlers are o ften ushering the M A IZ E C O D to his next engagem ent. T h e canoe its e lf m ay have a relationship w ith bowls used fo r SACRmcE and offerings, ap p ro p riate fo r e ith e r MAIZE or blood. P ainal

s e e H u r r z iL O P O C H T L i

P alenque T ria d Based on h ieroglyphic texts a t Palenque, H e in ric h B e rlin id e n tifie d a trio o f gods in 1963. O ne o f the striking characteristics o f these gods is th a t a ll three appear a t other M a y a cities in d iv id u a lly and over a long period o f tim e, b u t only a t P alenque do they occur as a hieroglyphic tria d . K now n as G I, G II, and G U I, for Gods 1, 2, and 3, they function as special patron deities for P alenque. T h e three births w ere not a ctu ally recorded u n til C han B ahlum (reigned AD 6 8 4 -7 0 2 ) b u ilt a group o f tem ples know n as the G roup o f the Cross a t the end o f the 7th c., b u t the T ria d was re fe rre d to by most Palenque kings, from Pacal onw ard (ru led AD 6 1 5 -6 8 3 ), and offerings w ere m ade to them . O n the G roup o f the Cross, each In itia l Series text begins w ith a d ate calculated 3000 to 4000 years before it was inscribed. T h e b irth o f G I is recorded in the T em p le o f the Cross, G II in the T e m p le o f the F o lia te d Cross, and G U I in the T em p le o f the Sun. I t m ight even be best to consider them trip lets for, according to the texts, these gods w e re a ll bom in 2360 Be over a three -w ee k period. Each b irth is accom panied by an 819-day D iv iN A T iO N , and an ancestral goddess is nam ed as th e ir collective m other. G I is the first born, follow ed four days la te r by G U I, and then 14 days la te r by G II. Since B erlin 's id en tificatio n o f the T ria d in 1963, G I's id e n tity has been scram bled w ith th at o f CHAC - whose zoom orphic form , some­ tim es called the R ain Beast, shares character­ istics w ith G I - and the relationship b etw een the tw o o f them has not been sorted out satisfactorily. G I's M a y a nam e rem ains unknow n; h iero g lyp h ically he is represented by his ow n distinctive head, w hereas C hac's nam e, som etim es ren dered C hac-xib-chac, is w e ll know n. G I's

B IR T H

is the m ost confused,

for he is nam ed as both fa th e r (b o m in 3122

The Paddler Cods at fore and aft of a canoe containing the Tonsured Maize God and animal passengers (complete canoe shown together with two details); incised bone, Burial 116, Tikal, Late Classic Maya.

G!!

The Palenque Triad, gods GI, GII, and G ill

G!t)


136

PALMA Be) and son (b o m in 2360

B e)

on th e T e m p le

his head has no anth ro p o m o rp hic fo rm , his

o f the Cross, possibly because th e sam e nam e

body, w ith th e exception o f th e serpent leg,

was h eld in tw o generations. W h ereas C Í has a m a tu re ,

anth ro p o ­

is hu m an . H is foreh ead is usually punctured b y an axe o r sm oking tube o r M!RHOR. In one

m orphic face, th e anth ro p o m o rp hic C hac is

p a rtic u la rly unusual re p resen tatio n on the

young. G Is

piers

squared eye has a c u rl th a t

turns in w a rd from th e e x te rio r c o m er; his

of

th e

T e m p le

of

Inscriptions

at

P alen q u e, an a d u lt carries a large b u t in fa n tile

"b a rb e ls " o r Bsh 6ns a re a t th e c o m er o f the

G II as i f it w e re a hum an c h ild ; w ith the

m outh, and his only tooth m ay be a p ro m in e n t

a d u lt p ro b ab ly in ten d e d to rep resen t C han

SHARK tooth. L ik e C hac, h e w ears la rg e spon-

B ahlum

dylus (spiny oyster) shells as e ar Hares. U n lik e

shows the ru lin g fa m ily to he d iv in e in th e ir

h im s elf, such a stucco ren d erin g

C hac, he fre q u e n tly w ears the sam e q u a d ri­ p a rtite headdress w orn by th e re a r head

ow n life tim e . On M aya

o f the BiCEPHALic MONSTER: a stingray spine,

q u e n tly , u su ally in passive ra th e r than active

ceram ics,

G II

appears

fre ­

spondylus shell, and crossed bands inside a

situations, and ra re ly in n a rra tiv e . O n some

cache vessel, im agery th a t m ay be conHated

codex-style pots, his serp ent leg is a visiON

w ith a heron w hen w orn by G I. H is im age,

SERPENT. C IT s nam e glyph is a com m on com ­

usually w ith the q u a d rip a rtite headdress, is

p o n en t o f ru le rs ' nam es. H e can sym bolize

one o f the most com m on on E a rly Classic

LIGHTNING, and his re p res en tatio n overlaps

censers from the P etén, and he was a p rin cip al

w ith th a t o f C hac, lin k in g RAIN and lig h tn in g .

re cip ien t o f M a y a oíTerings. M a y a kings a t Copán

and

T ik a !

w e re

rendered

in

the

costum e o f G l. H e ra rely appears as an actor on M a y a polychrom e vessels. G II is one m ore nam e for the M a y a d eity also know n as God K in the Schellhas system (see S C H E L LH A S C O D S ) and the M A N IK IN SCEPTER. T his is a very an cien t being, and m ay be seen on A b aj T a k a lik Stela 5, a m onum ent dating to the early second century A D . C a lle d Bolon D zacab a t the tim e o f the C onquest, G od K was probably know n as K au il du rin g the Classic era, and as T o h il am ong the Post­ classic Q uiché. H is nam es suggest bounty and abundance (Bolon D zacab means nine generations; K a u il, abundance; T o h il, very roughly, storm ), and the T e m p le o f the F o li­ ated Cross, w h ere his b irth is recorded, depicts abundant MAIZE rising up fro m a personiHed kern el. C han B ahlum , w ho has a ttire d h im s elf as the M A IZ E C O D , stands on a personiHed m ountain in the T e m p le o f the F o lia te d Cross, in whose eyes are glyphs th a t read L%z naV, o r H ill o f M a ize , probably analogous to the Sustenance M o u n ta in w h ere Q U E T Z A L C O A T L sought the source o f m aize. G II h im self does not appear on the T a b le t o f the F o liated Cross, although he is held in the hands o f C han B ahlum on the T a b le t o f the Sun. In his various form s, as the M a n ik in Scepter or an elongated staff, em erging fro m a C E RE ­ M O N IA L BAR, or as a h an d -h eld object, G II is usually shown to be m uch sm aller than hum ans. H is zoom orphic head has a long snout, p robably SERPENT in o rig in , and one o f his legs g en erally turns in to a snake. A lthough

G U I is p ro b ab ly the SUN god, KiNiCH AHAU (lo rd sun), b u t G U I is th e m ost obscure m em b er o f the P alen qu e T ria d . P ro b ab ly to be idendH ed w ith the G od o f N u m b e r 4, G U I appears as the head th a t fram es the e arth b an d on the base o f the T a b le t o f the Sun. T h e c en tral im age o f th a t p an el, h o w ever, is the Jaguar C od o f the U n d e r­ w o rld (^ee JAGUAR cops), the SUN a t NIGHT and a p rin c ip al Classic M a y a im age o f w a rfa re . T h e relad o n ship o f G U I to the Jaguar G od o f the UNDERWORLD is not clea r, b u t C I I I m ay encompass both d iu rn a l and no ctu rn al aspects o f the sun. B orn only fo u r days a p a rt, G I and G U I have som edm es been idendH ed w ith the H e ro T w in s o f the POPOL vuH. These pairings occur p a rd c u la rly on codex-style vessels o f the 8th c., and suggest the a lte rn a d n g SACRIFICES p erfo rm ed by th e H e ro T w in s . T h e re is every reason, h o w ever, to disdnguish G I and G U I, as w e ll as C hac and th e Jaguar B aby, fro m the H e ro T w in s. P a ire d opposidons (Fee DUALITY), TWINS, and brothers, h o w ever, a re a ll com m on in M a y a and M ex ica n m ythology, and struc­ tu ra l p arallels w ith th e H e ro T w in s m ay w e ll be expected. p alm a T h e ta ll, p alm ate stone called the paAna is one o f several standard elem ents o f BALLCAME e qu ipm en t th a t survive in stone fo rm , p ro b ab ly as trophies. PaAnaF w ere w orn a t the fro n t o f the body and inserted in to the YOKE. M a n y take th e form s o f hum an arm s and hands, standing b allp layers, or fa n -ta ile d birds. I f a ctu ally w o rn a t the w aist, some


131

PARROTS AND MACAWS A

examples w ould block the vision o f the p la ye r. U n like other item s o f b allg am e equ ip m en t, few pa/m as have been recovered aw ay from the G u lf Coast, b u t they a re dep icted in the sculpture a t C hichen Itz á and C o tzu m a lhuapa.

- Q

paper T h e peoples o f ancien t M esoam erica prepared p ap er from the pounded in n e r bark o f trees, p a rtic u la rly species o f strangler figs, such as FYcns co& ni/o/ia and jFYcus padi/o/za. Paper was probably present in M esoam erica by the E a rly F o rm a tiv e p erio d . M o n u m e n t 52 from the O lm ec site o f San Lorenzo portrays a figure w earin g e ar pennants o f folded paper. D u rin g the Protoclassic period, people a ll over M esoam erica used stone b arkbeaters to m anufacture p ap er, and these stone tools m ay have succeeded w ooden b arkbeaters, lik e those o f Southeast Asia and O ceania. A lthough it has been suggested th a t the M esoam erican m ode o f p ap er m anufac­ ture m ay have orig in ated in Southeast A sia, this paper technology m ay w e ll have been an ind epen d en t N e w W o rld innovation. In ancient and contem porary M esoam er­ ica, supplicants splash and daub pap er strips w ith B L O O D , copa/, RUBBER, or other liquid substances and then burn them as sacrificial offerings. I t is perhaps because the RAIN and LIGHTNING gods often receive these offerings th at they commonly w ea r paper ornaments. Paper was also w id ely used as an offering to the dead. In the iconography o f both C e ntral M exico and the M a y a region, paper often appears in DEATH-related scenes. MiCTLANTE c u H T L i , the skeletal death god o f C e ntral M exico, is usually depicted w earing a pointed cap and other apparel fashioned from paper. In addition to its uses as offerings and ritu a l clothing, paper served as an im p o rtan t m a te ria l fo r screenfold books. T h e M a y a seem to have especially favored paper screenfold codices (see coDEx) and a ll fou r o f the know n Prehispanic M a y a codices w ere fashioned from pounded bark paper. A lthough the surviving Prehispanic m anu­ scripts o f the M ixtees and peoples o f C e n tra l M exico are m ade o f DEER h id e ra th e r than paper, codices o f paper w e re p robably also com m on. N ahuatl-speakers called d iv in ato ry books fan a/am af/, a w ord containing the term ^ fo r p ap er, am af/. parrots and m acaws B oth parrots (A m azona sp.) and the re la te d la rg e r m acaws (A ra ra

The Palenque Triad. (Right) GI, detail from Early Classic carved vessel. (Left) GII, or Cod K, detail from Abaj Takalik Stela 5, Protoclassic Maya.

Often elaborately carved, stone palmas can also display a subtle elegance of form; from Classic Veracruz.


132

PATOLLI sp.) w e re m uch esteem ed fo r th e ir b rillia n t

M eso am erica, and o ften a p p e a r a t Classic

and m u ltih u e d p lu m ag e. Perhaps the m ost

and Postclassic sites o f both h ighland M exico

im p o rta n t o f these b irds o f th e p a rro t fa m ily

and th e M a y a region. A p a to lli course, along

w e re th e lo n g -ta ile d m acaw s, especially the

w ith p ro b ab le stick, b ean , and bone dice, is

scarlet m acaw (A ra m acao) and th e m ilita ry

illu s tra te d on page 20 o f th e M ix te e Codex

m acaw (A ra /n r/ifa rts ). In M eso am erican a rt,

Vindobonensis. In th e C e n tra l M ex ica n cod­

m acaw s can o ften be id e n tifie d not only by

ices, this p a to lli p a tte rn also occurs in scenes

th e ir thick beak and long ta il, b u t also by a

illu s tra tin g the TRECENA I C u a u h tli, dedicated

beaded rin g en circlin g th e eye. B irds o f the

to th e goddess xocHiQUETZAL. T h e m odern

p a rro t fa m ily a re com m only d ep icted in the

Tarascans o f'M ic h o a c á n s till use th e cross

Protoclassic TOMB a rt o f W e s t M ex ico , and it

and square p a to lli course; the T a rah u m ara

is p ro b ab le th a t m any o f these birds are

o f C h ih u ah u a and P ueblo peoples o f the

tro pical m acaw s th a t w e re trad ed in to this

A m erica n Southw est also p lay a m o d em form

region. A t the g re a t E a rly Postclassic site o f

o f the gam e. In a n c ie n t M eso am erica, p a to lli is best

Casas G randes, C h ih u ah u a, m ilita ry m acaw s (A ra m iZ/íar/s) w e re raised in specially p re ­

docum ented fo r the A ztecs. H e re the course

p ared pens.

w as o fte n p a in te d on MATS and com m only

ancient M eso am erica, m acaws w e re

took th e fo rm o f a cross w ith o u t the encircling

often id e n tifie d w ith FtRE. T h e Aztecs called

square. P layers g am bled on the p a to lli gam e

m acaw

and, a t tim es, people even sold them selves

In

ta il

feathers

cueza/in,

signifying

' fla m e ." In the M a y a D resden and M a d rid

in to slavery as a fin a l d esp erate w a g er. T h e

codices, m acaws hold flam ing torches. F ra y

p atro n o f this gam e w as

D iego dc L an d a records th a t the m ost massive structure a t the site o f Iza m a l, Yucatán, was

m ost im p o rta n t o f the AHUiATETEO gods o f

dedicated to K inich K akm o, or "S u n -fad ed F ire M a c a w ," a fiery e n tity th a t descended a t noon to burn and consum e sacrificial o ffe r­ ings. T h e Q uiché M a y a called the m acaw C aquix, m eaning " fie ry fe a th e r." In the POPOL v u H , the H e ro T w in s tric k the gods o f DEATH by placing m acaw feathers on the tips o f th e ir u n lit cigars to suggest burning em bers. T h e m onster b ird slain by the H e ro T w in s was v u c u B C A Q u ix , or 7 M a c a w . H o w e v e r, although this im p o rtan t episode is w id e ly depicted in Classic M a y a a rt, the m onster b ird in this instance bears no d ire c t resem blance to a m acaw . p a to lli P a to lli is a M esoam erican gam e o f chance in w hich gam e piece m arkers m ove through a set course depending upon the ro le o f the dice, m uch lik e a m odern board gam e. T h e 19th c. anthropologist E d w ard B. T y lo r noted th a t p a to lli is m arked ly sim ilar to the In d ia n parchesi, and suggested th a t p a to lli o rig in ated in A sia. H o w ev er, although the sim ilarities are indeed striking, th e re is no evidence th a t p a to lli is h istorically re late d to parchesi. Q u ite com m only, the p a to lli gam e course resem bles a cross enclosed w ith in a square. T h e y are not discrete units, h o w ever, b u t are in terw o ven in to a single contiguous course. C arv ed onto Hat stones or p laster Aoors, p a to lli designs o f this form are w idespread in

M A C U iL X O C H iT L ,

the

excess. A ccording to D ie g o D u ra n , O m eto ch tli, a n o th er bein g o f vice and excess and god o f the in to xicatin g P U L Q U E , also presided over the p a to lli gam e. Thus, as in W e s te rn society, d rin k in g and g am blin g w e re closely re la te d am ong the a n cien t A ztecs. P au ah tu n A n cie n t M eso am erican peoples w id e ly b eliev ed th a t th e cosmic balance o f the w o rld rested on th e shoulders o f fo u r gods situ ated a t the fo u r q u arters. F o r the an cien t M a y a , this SKYBEARER was g lyp h ically nam ed as P auahtun. H e corresponds to the w o rld D IR E C T IO N S , and appears in both single and q u a d rip a rtite fo rm . Iro n ic a lly , although he bears th e w e ig h ty office o f supporting the s x Y , he is fre q u e n tly p o rtray ed as a d ru n ken and lecherous old m an, h ard ly a paragon o f security and resp o n sibility. A long w ith his d istinctive n etted cloth headdress, he often appears w ith in a conch or tortoise shell. A t tim es, he w ears a spider's w e b ra th e r than the conch or carapace. As w e ll as being a skybearer, P auahtun seems to be a god o f th u n d e r, M O U N T A IN S , and the in te rio r o f the E A R T H , m uch lik e the m odern M a m god o f hig h lan d G u atem ala. In th e Postclassic codi­ ces, he appears as C o d N in th e Schellhas system o f d e ity classification. See a/so L iC H T N IN C A N D T H U N D E R ; S C H E L L H A S GO DS.

peccary Peccaries, sm elly, blunt-snouted w ild pigs, g en erally roam th e tropical rain


133

PILGRIMAGE

forest o f M esoam erica in sm all herds; they are om nivores w ith a keen sense o f sm ell and hearing. T w o peccary species a re n a tiv e to M esoam erica: the co llared (Tayassu angu/afus) and the w h ite -lip p e d (7ayassu pecar?). Peccaries w ere o f in tere st m a in ly to the M a y a insofar as religious iconography is con­ cerned. A num ber o f M a y a nobles included the peccary in th e ir nam es. In the th ree b rig h t STARS th a t m odern skyw atchers read as the b e lt o f O rio n , the M a y a saw m ating peccaries. In some exam ples, the M a y a god rrzAMNA rides the peccary. Snout-dow n pec­ cary heads form the legs o f E a rly Classic quadrupod bowls and m ay b ea r cahan curls, or EARTH signs, perhaps in some referen ce to the p illars o f the cosmos. M a y a artists m ay have used sharp peccary tusks to carve stone m onum ents. According to one 19th c. account, the peccary was also the e arth god o f the H u ich o l. pilgrim age C e rta in MOUNTAINS, shrines, and cities becam e objects o f M esoam erican religious pilgrim ages. M otecuhzom a I I h im ­ self rep u ted ly w alked to TEOTMUACAN regu­ la rly to w orship there. As the setting for the creation o f the fifth sun (see FIVE s u N s ) , T eotihuacan held g reat p o w er for the Aztecs, and they le ft testim ony o f th e ir visits there in the form o f broken A ztec p o ttery. T h ey trea te d T u la , H id alg o, as a site o f pilgrim age too, b u t they also rem oved m any o f its visible sculp tures and hauled them back to Tenochtitla n . As the trad itio n a l refuge o f QUETZAL COATL, C h olu la was also an im p o rtan t p ilg rim ­ age destination. A fte r the Zapotees abandoned M o n te A lb an , the M ixtees treated the m ountain w ith reverence and as a place o f pilgrim age. T h ey honored it by placing th e ir ow n dead in ancient Zapotee TOMBS (w hich they first em p tied and presum ably desecrated). Pilgrim ages w ere c arried out to sanctify ru lership, to seek advice, and to change one's fo rtu n e. A M ix te e princess, 6 M o n key, jo u rn eyed w ith the w e ll-kn o w n lord 10 W in d to seek the advice o f 9 Grass, a priestess or goddess w ho guarded an im p o rtan t oracle,

Parrots and macaws: macaw ballcourt marker, Xochicalco, Morelos, Late Classic period. Macaw head ballcourt markers are also known for Late Classic Copán, and it appears that the macaw had a special association with the ballgame.

Macuilxochitl presiding over a patolli game, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec.

probably a t C halcatongo. L ittle is know n o f Classic M a y a p ilg rim ­ ages, although there is evidence fo r royal visits. A t the tim e o f the Spanish Conquest, L an d a noted th a t 'th e y held C ozum el and the w e ll o f C hichen Itz a in the sam e ven eratio n as w e have fo r pilgrim ages to Jerusalem and

Two Pauahtun skybearers, detail from a carved bench, Copán, Late Classic Maya.


134

POPOL VUH Rom e, and so th ey used to go to visit these places and to o ffe r presents th e re , especially

been tran slated m any tim es and In to m any languages.

to C o zum el, as w e do to holy places; and if

T h e P o p o / Vuh has essentially th re e parts:

they d id not go them selves, th e y alw ays sent

6rst, th e creatio n o f the EARTH and its Brat

th e ir offerings, and those w ho w e n t th e re

in h a b ita n ts ; second, th e story o f the H ero

w e re in the h a b it o f e n te rin g th e abandoned

T w in s and th e ir foreb ears; and th ird , the

tem ples also, as they passed by th em , to o ffe r

leg en d ary h istory o f the founding o f the

prayers th e re and to b u rn c o p a l/'

Q u ich é dynasties, con tin u in g up to the years

In the Postclassic p erio d , b eginning w ith the fa ll o f Classic cities, the Sacred CENOTE a t C hichen

Itz á

was the m ost im p o rta n t

fo llo w in g the Spanish C onquest. T h e m id d le section o f th e P o p o / Vuh, tre a tin g not only o f the H e ro T w in s b u t also o f th e ir fa th e r, uuN is the m ost an c ie n t, app earin g in a rt

p ilg rim ag e d estin atio n fo r the M a y a , and

HUNAHPU,

so it rem ained u n til 1539. A ltho u g h L an d a

from L a te F o rm a tiv e tim es o n w ard . From

considered C ozum el the g re a te r p ilg rim ag e

th a t p o in t on, M a y a

d estin atio n , it was p ro b ab ly in fa c t th e lesser.

em u lated th e H e ro T w in s and th e ir exploits.

kings seem to have

txcHEL's c u lt was celeb rated th e re , as it was

T h e tales a re not re la te d in a lin e a r fashion

on the neighboring island, Is la M u je re s , and

and presum e a fa m ilia rity w ith the characters

m any pilgrim s to these islands w e re w om en w ho sought fe rtility and guidance from the

on th e p a rt o f the audience. U n lik e the c reatio n a t th e beg inn ing o f the

goddess. A ccording to L an d a , p ilgrim s cam e

B ib le , the M a y a c reatio n in the P o p o / Vuh

from g reat distances - som etim es from as fa r

takes p lace in g re a t q u ie t. C u g u m a tz, the

aw ay as the Putun M a y a region, or w h a t is

Q uiché

the m odern M exican state o f Tabasco.

H u ru ca n , p ro b ab ly to be id e n tifie d w ith Town./

Religious pilgrim ages rem ain im p o rtan t in M exico and G u atem ala today, based on p rac­ tices coincident both from the past in the N e w W o rld and from E urope. T h e shrine o f the V irg in o f G u adalupe a t the h ill o f Tepeyac, the most im p o rtan t p ilgrim age destination for M exican C atholics today, was once the site o f w orship to T o n an tzin , a C e n tra l M exican goddess re late d to Toci. C h alm a, a tow n once know n fo r its ancient CAVE shrine, now houses w ith in its C ath o lic church a black C h rist claim ed to w o rk m iracles, and an adjacent sacred a h u e h u e f/ tree receives m odern o ffe r­ ings from the pilgrim s w ho Rock to the tow n.

C od K (see S C H E L L H A S coos), first shape the earth and its fea tu re s, and then raise the SKY

Popol V uh T h e most im p o rtan t surviving sacred book o f the Q uiche M a y a is called the P opo/ Vuh, or "council book." As the D ennis T ed lock tran slatio n o f the text tells us, "th e re is the o rig in al book and ancien t w ritin g , b u t he w ho reads and ponders it hides his fa c e ," so e a rly in the era o f C h ris tia n ity , some tim e in the m id -16 th c., a Q uiche noblem an sat dow n w ith w h a t m ust have been a h ie ro ­ glyphic book and w ro te a transcription in the Rom an alp h ab et. A t the beginning o f the 18th c., a Q uiché-speaking Spanish fria r, Francisco X im en ez, learn ed o f the m anuscript in Chichicastenango. H e copied the Q uiche text and w ro te a p a ra lle l Spanish text: his is the e arliest surviving version o f the P o p o / VuA, and it is preserved today in the N e w b e rry L ib ra ry in C hicago. T h e book has

tran slatio n

of

Q UETZALCO ATL,

and

overhead. T h e SUN does no t rise u n til m uch la te r. T h e gods then p o p ulated the e a rth w ith a ll its anim als, b u t w h en th e y fou n d th a t the anim als w e re u n ab le to speak and praise th e ir m akers, they condem ned them fo re v e r to being the food o f h ig h er beings. In a second a tte m p t to crea te a being th a t w ould praise its m akers, th e gods shaped a hum an o f m ud, b u t it dissolved in fro n t o f them . F o r a th ird a tte m p t, H u ru c a n and C u gu m atz called on ancestral d ivin ers, X p iacoc and Xm ucane, to g en e rate m an kin d . This tim e hum ans w e re carved o f w ood, and although they q u ickly p o p ulated the e a rth , they forgot th e ir m akers and w e re destroyed by the gods, w ho sent various destructions fro m the sky and w ho tu rn e d the pots, the griddles, th e g rin d in g stones, and even the DOGS, against the people o f w ood. A fte r this destruction, the P o p o / Vuh begins to re la te stories o f the H e ro T w in s , H u nah p u and X b alanq u e. D em igods, th e H e ro T w in s d e fe a t the false sun and vanquish the gods o f the X ib a lb a , o r UNDERWORLD, setting the stage fo r the gen eratio n o f tru e hum ans la te r in th e P opo/ Vuh. H u n ah p u and X b alan q u e took on vucuB CAQUD( (7 M a c a w ), w ho had set h im s e lf up as a false sun w ith the support o f his sons Z ip acn a and C abracan. G re a t blow gunners, the T w in s took th e ir weapons and struck the


135

POPOL VUH

bejew eled tee th o f V ucub C aq u ix, and then tricked him into accepting ground corn as the replacem ent. U n ab le to e a t and d ep rived o f the jew els th a t gave him his false radiance, Vucub C aquix was d efe ated , and his sons w ere defeated th e re a fte r. T h e story then Bashes back to the g en er足 ation o f H u n H u nah p u and his b ro th e r Vucub H u nah p u , such s k illfu l b allp layers (see BALLGAME) th a t th e ir constant p lay disturbed the lords o f X ib a lb a , w ho com m anded th a t they com e to X ib a lb a for a contest. M essenger OWLS from X ib a lb a guided the brothers into the U n d e rw o rld , w h e re they fa ile d one test a fte r another. T h e day a fte r they a rriv e d , they w ere sacrihced by the lords o f X ib a lb a and b u rie d in the b allco u rt, w ith the exception o f the head o f H u n H u n a h p u , w hich was stuck in a calabash tree , as if it w e re a skullrack, or TZOMPANTLi. W h en X q u ic, a young X ib a lb a goddess, le arn e d o f the strange fru it o f this tre e , she visited it, and H u n H unahpu's head spat in to h er hand, im p reg n atin g h er w ith w h a t w ould be H u nah p u and X balanque. W h en h er con足 d itio n becam e ap p aren t, she was d riven out of X ib alb a and w e n t to liv e w ith H u n H unahpu's m other, w ho tested h er before allo w in g h er to stay and d e liv e r the T w in s. H u n H unahpu had a lread y fath ered another p a ir o f tw ins, H u n B atz and H u n C huen, g re at artists and m usicians, w ho resented, abused, and took advantage o f th e ir baby brothers. B u t w hen they g rew old enough, the H e ro T w in s out足 sm arted th e ir brothers and lu red them into a tre e , w h ere, unable to get dow n, they becam e MONKEYS. T h e ir grandm other h id th e ir fath er's ballgam e equ ipm en t from the H ero T w in s, bu t they tricked her and becam e even m ore p ro ficien t ballplayers than th e ir fa th e r and uncle. Once again, the lords o f X ib alb a sum足 m oned the ballplayers to the U n d e rw o rld , b u t the H e ro T w in s w ere not defeated by the tests and traps set fo r them . In stead , the gods fe ll in to the T w in s ' traps. T h e y used a m osquito to b ite each god in sequence, and so the gods revealed th e ir nam es, p a rt o f th e ir d efe at. Each day, the H e ro T w in s played the X ib a lb a lords on the b allco u rt; each n ight, they w ere sent to a d iffe re n t house to be tested. W h en told to keep th e ir cigars lit for a n ight, they com plied by using fireflies on the ends; w hen told to p ro vid e cut FLOWERS, the T w in s sum m oned c u tter ants to cut the Rowers o f the X ib a lb a . W h en sent to the C old

Head of Hun Hunahpu, father of the Popol Vuh Hero Twins, placed in a fruit-laden tree, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase. Although the Popol Vuh states that the head of Hun Hunahpu was placed in a gourd tree, this image clearly represents a cacao tree. A cacao pod with human features can be seen in an upper branch, which probably refers to the transformation of Hun Hunahpu's head into the fruit.

A monkey scribe dancing with a mirror, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase. The monkey scribes appearing in Classic Maya iconography are now known to be early forms of Hun Batz and Hun Chuen of the Popol Vuh. Although widely recognized to be gods of the scribal arts, Hun Batz and Hun Chuen were also identified with music and dance.


116

PRIESTS H ouse, the T w in s d rove th e cold a w a y ; w h en

16th c. áee aA?o CREATION ACCOUNT*.

sent to the Jaguar H ouse, th e T w in s o ffered the fACUARs th e Hesh o f a il o th e r anim als. In

priests T h e

th e F ire H ouse, FmE d id not consum e th e

im p o rta n t p u b lic offices in an cien t M eso am er-

p rie st h eld

one o f th e

most

T w in s . In th e B a t H ouse, h o w e ve r, although

ican society. In te rm e d ia rie s b etw e en hum ans

the T w in s slept inside th e ir blow guns, w h en

and th e su p e rn atu ral, priests w e re fu lltim e

H u n a b p u stuck his head o u t e a rly in the

specialists w ho possessed a vast am ount o f

m o rning, a k ille r BAT sliced o ff his head.

esoteric know ledge concerning such subjects

X b a la n q u e called the anim als to h e lp h im ,

as calendhcs,

W R IT IN G ,

ritu als and m ythology.

and they fashioned a n ew head fo r H u n a h p u

T y p ic a lly , priests w e re m ales culled from the

from a p u m p kin, b u t w h en th ey got to th e

e lite ranks o f society. T h e y endured a life o f

b allco u rt, the lords o f X ib a lb a in tro d uced the

p en iten ce and fasting , and ra re ly cohabited

head o f H u n a h p u as the b a ll. X b a la n q u e

w ith w o m en . A ccording to B urgoa, the Z ap o ­

struck the head o u t o f th e court, and a RABBIT

tees castrated the e lite ch ild ren to becom e

c u rled up and bounced aw ay as if it w e re th e

neophyte priests know n as púrana. U n lik e w ho fre q u e n tly engaged in trances

b a ll, lead in g the X ib alb an s on a w ild chase

SHAM ANS,

and g ivin g X b alan q u e tim e to restore H u n a h -

and s p irit possession, priests u sually served

pu's head. B u t the T w in s then le t them selves

in the m ore detached position o f a m e d iato r

be d e fe a te d , cooked in an oven, and th e ir

or spokesperson b etw e en hum ans and the

bones ground and tossed in to the riv e r. F iv e days la te r the T w in s reap p eared from

was th a t o f p resentin g sacrificial offerings to

G O DS.

Thus one o f th e ir m ore im p o rta n t roles

the riv e r, first as catfish, then disguised as

the gods. H o w e v e r, the d istinctio n b etw een

w an d erin g m agicians and p erform ers. T h e

p riest and sham an w as fa r fro m fast: the

lords o f X ib a lb a sum m oned them to th e ir court, w h e re the T w in s p erfo rm ed g re at

Z apotee high p rie s t o f M itla fo r exam ple,

feats: they danced, they sacrificed a dog and brought him back to life , they sacrificed a

sup ern atu ral through ecstatic tran ce. A ltho u g h priests w e re u n d o u b ted ly present

hum an and brought him back to life , and X b alanq u e sacrificed H u nah p u and brought him back to life . T h e lords o f X ib a lb a g rew ecstatic a t the sight and begged to be sacri­ ficed them selves. T h e T w in s obliged, o f course, b u t did not re vive the D E A T H gods. T h ey dug up the bodies o f H u n H unahpu and Vucub H unahpu and revived them before w a lk ­ ing into the sky to reign as the sun and M O O N . T h e fin a l and longest section o f the PopoV Vuh begins w ith the A N C E S TR A L C O U P L E attem p tin g once again to m ake a c reatu re th a t w ould praise the gods. This tim e , the fo u r founders o f the Q uiche lineages w e re form ed o f M A IZ E . T h e y praised th e ir m akers and Hourished. In th e ir n ear p erfectio n , these m en o f m aize alarm ed th e gods, w ho cu rta ile d th e ir vision to only w h a t was nearby. A ll this took place b efo re the tru e sun rose. T h e fou r founders jo u rn eyed to T u la n Z u yu a, the M O U N T A IN o f the seven CAVES, and th e re th ey received th e gods, w hom they then c arried hom e in B U N D LE S on th e ir backs. B alam Q u itze received T O H iL , w ho gave hum ans fire , b u t only a fte r HUMAN SACRIFICE to h im had begun. A t last the tru e sun rose in the east. T h e P o p o / Vuh closes by listing the lineage heads in each g eneration, 14 fro m B alam Q u itze to his descendants in the m iddle o f the

the U ija T ao , w o u ld com m unicate w ith the

in F o rm a tiv e and C lassic M eso am erica, it is d iffic u lt to id e n tify th e ir offices in th e ancien t w ritin g and a rt, even in the n a tu ra lis tic a rt and d e ta ile d w ritin g o f the M a y a . As it c u rre n tly stands, th e re is no know n glyph or read in g fo r the office o f p rie s t in an cien t M a y a script. N onetheless, it is q u ite possible th a t priests, religious experts fu lly versed in cou rtly esoteric know ledge, crea te d a g re a t d eal o f the fin e e lite a rt. Priests are w e ll docum ented fo r th e L a te Postclassic perio d in d e ta ile d e a rly C o lo n ial accounts. A m ong th e A ztecs and o th er peoples o f C e n tra l M exico , as w e ll as am ong the M ixtees o f O axaca and the Tarascans o f M ichoacán, priests com m only w o re gourds fille d w ith TO B A C C O upon th e ir backs. T o d ay, th e tobacco gourd is s till an im p o rta n t acces­ sory o f the H u ich o l m a ra a A a m e sham an p riest. A long w ith the tobacco gourd, A ztec priests usually w o re a w h ite JHcoJVi ja c k e t and a kno tted cotton INCENSE bag. In a d d itio n , the A ztec p rie st is o fte n rep resen ted w ith B LO O D in the a rea o f his tem ples, in d icatin g his role as p e n ite n tia l b lo o d le tter. T h e ethnohistorical accounts reveal th a t am ong the A ztecs, Zapo­ tees, Tarascans, and Yucatec M a y a , com plex hierarchies o f p riestly offices specified p articu ­ la r roles and responsibilities.


137

PRINCIPAL BIRD DEIT1

In Postclassic M esoam erica, p artic u la r gods w ere id en tified w ith the office o f priest. F o r the Aztecs, QUETZALCOATL w as the param ount god of priests, and the ca/m ecac school o f noble youths and neophyte priests was dedicated to him . In addition, the tw o highest priests o f the Aztecs bore the title o f Q uetzalcoatl. Among the M ixtees, the d e ity know n as 2 Dog appears as an aged priest w earin g a prom inent tobacco gourd upon his back. F o r the Post足 classic Yuca tec M a y a , rrzAMNA freq u e n tly serves as a priest, com plete w ith

priestly

accoutrem ents as m entioned by the early C olonial chroniclers. H o w e v e r, the Yucatec priests w ere also id e n tifie d w ith the SUN, and bore the title o f A h K in , or H e o f the Sun. Possibly, this is a referen ce to the aspect o f Itza m n a know n as KiNiCH AHAU Itza m n a , m eaning "sun-faced lord Itz a m n a ." p rim o rd ial couple see ANCESTRAL COUPLE P rin cip al B ird D e ity A t the beginning o f M a y a c iv iliza tio n , one o f the first deities to take consistent, public form is the P rin cip al B ird D e ity , a g reat avian creatu re th a t m ay be based on the king v u ltu re . In a ll likelih o o d , this god is to be id en tih ed w ith vucuB C A Q U ix o f the POPOLvuH, a b ird god w ho sets h im self up as a false suN b efore the DAWN o f tim e. In the P opo/ Vuh, the H ero T w in s shoot dow n Vucub C aquix w ith blow guns, and his dem ise sets the stage for the rising o f the tru e sun at the daw n o f the era o f the c u rren t race o f h u m an ity. T h e M a y a did not v ie w the P rin cip al B ird as an un m itig ated evil pow er, h ow ever, and p a rtic u la rly in early represen足 tations, the P rin cip al B ird is presented in a positive lig h t. In fact, there m ay w e ll have been a sh ift in the perception o f this god over tim e. V e ry early versions o f the P rin cip al B ird D e ity form ed huge stucco sculptures on the exteriors o f pyram ids a t C erros and N akb e, perhaps by as early as 300 B e . E a rly portrayals em phasize a long, d o w n w ard -cu rving beak and wings bordered by serpent faces. A lthough the P rin cip al B ird is considered a M a y a d eity , the p o w e rfu l lord on L a M o ja rra Stela 1, from outside the M a y a area, w ears a large head o f the P rin cip al B ird as his headdress and a sm aller version as his pec足 to ral. E a rly M a y a kings a t K am in alju y u also adopted the P rin cip al B ird as an im p o rtan t sym bol o f p ow er. L a te r lords ra re ly include the P rin cip al B ird D e ity in th e ir reg alia.

An Aztec priest with his tobacco gourd, copa/ incense pouch, and long-handled censer, Codex Mendoza, 16th c.

The Principal Bird Deity was one of the major gods of the Protoclassic Maya; in many scenes, such as the one here, the bird is represented holding a snake in its mouth, possibly a reference to storms and lightning; El Mirador Stela 2, Guatemala, Protoclassic Maya.

El Ave de Pico Ancho, the Zapotee form of the Maya Principal Bird Deity, is common in Proto足 classic and Classic period Zapotee iconography; detail from a Classic Zapotee urn, Oaxaca.


D u rin g th e Classic period, th e Principa! Bird often bears aspects o f rrzAMNA. A lthough the relationship b etw ee n th e tw o gods is not d e a r , the Principa! B ird m ay be the

UAY,

or

Panuco. T h e ancien t M a y a o f southeastern M eso am erica p ro b ab ly also had pulque In a n u m b er o f C o lo n ial M a y a n d iction aries, form s o f the term c / or cA/ a re glossed as m aguey

spirit com panion, o f Itza m n a . O n p a in te d p o tte ry , the P rin c ip a l B ird

and p u lq u e. In C lassic M a y a vessel scenes of

D e ity appears w ith th e H e ro T w in s in scenes

glyph d en o tin g the p h o netic valu e c / or c/u.

c!ose!y p a ra lle lin g th e m u c h -la te r tex t o f the

M o re o v e r, recen t excavations have revealed

d rin k in g , pots a re fre q u e n tly lab eled w ith a

P o p o / Huh. T h e m onster b ird o f the P o p o /

th a t m aguey w as c u ltiv a te d in Classic tim es

Huh also appears on tw o stelae fro m Iza p a .

a t the site o f C e ré n , E l S alvador. 5 ee a/so

T h e P rin cip al B ird D e ity like w is e appears

M A Y A H U E L ; PU LQ U E CODS.

in ancien t Zap o tee a rt, w h e re it has been lab eled E / A v e d e P ico A ncho, or ' the b ird w ith the broad b e a k ." T h e Z ap o tee m o tif

p u lq u e gods T h e Rrst know n personiRcation o f PULQUE in M eso am erica appears a t the

know n as the Planees d e CYe/o, or "jaws o f

Classic site o f TEOTiHUACAN. H e re a n u m b er o f

h e a ve n ," is form ed by tw o proR le faces o f

scenes d ep ict a m asked in d iv id u a l w ith w h ite

this b ird jo in e d a t the eye. A ltho u g h the

gouts o f m ilk y p u lq u e. In one instance, the

Zapotee e n tity is v irtu a lly id e n tic a l in form

head o f this Rgure is surrounded by the long

to the M a y a one it is not know n w h e th e r

p o in ted leaves, o r pencas, o f the MAGUEY p la n t.

the P rin cip al B ird D e ity p layed the sam e

A m ong th e Postclassic M ixtees, the p ulque

m ythological role am ong the Zapotees. See

deities ap p e ar to have been distinguished from

a h o V U C U B C A Q U !X .

the goddess o f m aguey: thus w h ile m aguey is represented by the goddess 11 S erpent, pulque

pulque A n alcoholic beverage d erive d from the ferm en ted sap o f the MAGUEY (A g a ve sp.), pulque played an im p o rtan t role in p ublic cerem onies and festivities. T h e peoples o f C en tra! M exico fre q u e n tly fortiR ed the re la ­ tive ly m ild pulque w ith certain roots to increase its potency. Pulque was a v itam in -rich m ilky liqu id, and was identiRed w ith m other s m ilk in C en tral M exico. O n the stone A ztec B ilim ek Pulque Vessel, pulque is represented cascading into a pulque pot from the breasts o f a fearsom e EARTH goddess. T h e Aztecs clearly had an am bivalent a ttitu d e concerning pulque, for although a fe rtile and intoxicating Ruid, it also caused drunkenness and social discord. According to A ztec legend, Q U E T Z A L C O A T L slept w ith his sister w h ile in a drunken stupor. Thus sham ed, he le ft his cap ital o f T O L L A N . P ulque p layed a m ajor cerem onial ro le am ong the ancien t M ixtees and Zapotees o f O axaca. O n page 25 o f the M ix te e Codex Vindobonensis, a series o f 12 deities d rin k p ulque from sm all cups. Am ong the neighbor­ ing Zapotees, pulque appears in e lite MARRIAGE scenes d epicted on m onum ents d atin g from roughly A D 800 to 1000. T h e Aztecs considered the H uastec M a y a o f northern Veracruz to be g reat drinkers o f pulque. Thus according to the F lo ren tin e Codex, the king o f the Huastecs becam e so d ru n k w ith pulque th a t he cast ofF his loincloth. Because o f this, the Huastecs m oved in disgrace to the present region o f

is personiRed by goddesses 2 F lo w e r and 3 A llig a to r. In C e n tra ! M e x ica n iconography, the p u lq u e gods a re s im ila ry distinguished from m aguey: MAYAHUEL is the fe m a le d iv in ity o f m aguey w h ile the p u lq u e gods a re g en er­ a lly m ale. A n o te w o rth y exception is the aged EARTH goddess upon the B ilim e k P ulque Vessel, w ho has p u lq u e s q u irtin g fro m her p en d en t breasts. T h e concept o f pu lq u e gods w as v ery h ig h ly developed am ong the A ztecs. C o lle c tiv e ly know n as the C en tzo n T o to c h tin , o r "4 0 0 R ab b its," these beings took a g re at m any form s and perm u tation s. A n u m b er o f pu lq u e gods w e re b u ried a t the base o f an e arly phase o f the T em plo M a y o r, on the HurrziLOPOCHTLi side o f the TEMPLE, la id out lik e victim s, possibly id en tifyin g the C entzon T o to ch tin as the C entzon H u itzn a h u a, the 400 youths slain by H u itzilo p o c h tli. M a n y o f these p u lq u e gods a re illu s tra te d in the C o lo n ial A ztec Codex M ag liab ec h ia n o . C e rta in p u lq u e gods reig n ed o ver p a rtic u la r regions: T ep o ztec atl, fo r exam ple, was the god o f T e p o ztla n , and the rem ains o f his tem p le s till survive above th e contem porary tow n. T h e pulque gods w e re represented collectively by the d e ity O m e T o c h tli, or 2 R ab b it. A n o th er im p o rta n t pu lq u e god, P a tec atl, presided over the day M a lin a lli and the TRECENA 1 O zo m atli. p u rificatio n M u c h lik e the English adage o f


139

PYRAMID

"cleanliness is next to godliness," p u rificatio n was a m ajor concern in M esoam erican ritu a l. The success o f m any cerem onies depended on physical and m oral cleanliness. In m any cases, th e re w e re restrictions on sexual behavior during im p o rtan t cerem onies, p a r­ ticu larly for PRIESTS, w ho usually abstained from contact w ith w om en. B u t the concern for p u rity was by no means lim ite d to ritu a l events; p u rificatio n was also necessary to achieve a h ealth y and successful life . M is ­ deeds, fre q u e n tly o f a sexual n atu re , pos­ sessed an alm ost p alp ab le form th a t could accrue like filth around the in d iv id u a l, the household, and even the e n tire com m unity. F o r this reason, calen d rically tim e d events ensured the puriR cation

and harm ony of

com m unities. Am ong the L a te Postclassic Yucatec M a y a , the new year was m arked by the casting out o f sweepings and old household utensils. T h e Aztecs o f T e n o c h titlan rep eated this p u rificatio n event on a massive scale: a ll household debris was rem oved d uring the N e w F ire cerem onies perform ed a t the com pletion o f a 5 2-year cycle (see CALENDAR; FIRE).

Pulque pouring from the breasts of an earth goddess, detail of Bilimek Pulque Vessel, Late Postclassic Aztec.

In M esoam erica, m oral im p u rity was con­ sidered much lik e contam inating d irt or dust. F o r this reason, brooms and sw eeping w ere symbols o f cerem onial p u rificatio n . In the C e n tra l M exican codices, grass brooms are often placed by CROSSROADS, popular places fo r depositing dangerous and contam inating im p u rities. WATER also sym bolized p u rifi­ cation, and w ashing or aspersing (sprinkling w ith w a te r) w ere com mon ritu a l form s o f cleansing. swEATBATHS w e re w id e ly used for s p iritu al as w e ll as physical pu rificatio n . F ire , an im p o rtan t com ponent o f the sw eatbath, could also p u rify : the burning o f sw eet­ sm elling INCENSE was often used to cleanse and p u rify. In d ivid u als fre q u e n tly perform ed personal acts o f p u rificatio n , such as sexual abstention, fasting, p e n ite n tia l BLOODLETTING, and CONFESSION. See a/yo TLAZOLTEOTL. pyram id M esoam erican pyram ids are stable form s th a t resist destruction in a land prone to earthquakes. G e n era lly rising as a fo u r­ sided form w ith stairs only on one side, a p yram id usually supports a TEMPLE on its broad, fla t sum m it. A lthough o ften now con­ sidered

m ysterious,

pyram ids

had

q u ite

specific religious functions. M a n y pyram ids w e re dedicated to p artic u ­ la r cu lt d eities. Sahagun lists over 70 deities

Pulque god, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec.


!4H

QUADRiPARTiTE MONSTER th a t had th e ir ow n raised tem ples in th e

th e h ill o f H u itzilo p o c h tli's b irth , w h ile at the

sacred p recin ct a t T e n o c h titla n , and am ong

sam e tim e the offerings deposited in the tw o tem ples suggest th a t the tem ples w ere

these w e re QUETZALCOATL, TEZCATLIPOCA, XIPE TOTEc, HumnLOPOCHTLi, and TLALOC. S urviving

conceived o f as one o f the m ountains d ed i­

illu stratio n s o f A zte c p yram ids show th a t

cated to T la lo c . T h e deposit o f crem ated

the iconography o f th e roofcom bs re ve ale d p a rtic u la r associations: T la lo c's p y ram id , fo r

ashes o f n oble predecessors dem onstrates th a t such p yram ids w e re also centers of

exam ple, had a b lu e roofcom b w ith aq u atic

ancestor w orship fo r p o w e rfu l lineages.

m otifs. D u a l pyram ids, such as the T em p lo M a y o r o f T e n o c h ü tla n , had a single g re at

The

e a rlie s t

p yram id

in

M exico ,

the

e arth en m ound a t L a V e n ta from c. 800 Be,

in d iv id u a l

is ro ughly in th e form a flu te d cupcake and

shrines a t the top, and w e re g en e rally d e d i­

m ay w e ll be an efHgy o f a volcano, although

p la tfo rm ,

tw o

staircases,

and

its unusual contours m ay sim ply be the result

cated to tw o d istinct cults. For

e a rlie r

M eso am erican

civilizatio n s

o f n a tu ra l erosion o f a four-sided structure.

such specific associations a re not know n w ith

N a tu ra l rises a re used to e le v a te pyram ids,

assurance.

such

A tT E O T iH U A C A N ,

the p rin c ip a l p y ra ­

m ids w e re said by the Aztecs to be d ed icated

as

th e

T e m p le

of

Inscriptions

at

P alen q u e, and in the ro llin g p la in o f the

and this m ay w e ll be

P eten , th e g re a t pyram ids o f T ik a l ap p ear

tru e. Because o f its association w ith the long

lik e m an -m ad e m ountains, cresting above the

d o rm ant, gurgling volcano w hich fram es it,

canopy o f th e tro p ical ra in forest.

to the

SUN

and

MOON,

the Pyram id o f the M oon a t T eo tih u acan was q u ite possibly dedicated to a WATER or fe rtility cult. A t M o n te A lb án , little elu cid atin g icono­ graphy survives to id e n tify any pyram id o th er than the D anzantes, w hich, w ith its icono­ graphy o f sacrificial victim s and h u m iliatio n , m ay w e ll have been dedicated to a cult o f w ar. Some M a y a pyram ids w e re d edicated to specific d eity cults, for exam ple, the G roup o f the Cross a t Palenque, w ith its d edicatory links b etw een the BIRTH o f the PALENQUETRIAD gods and the ru lersh ip o f C han B ahlum . M o re c h aracteristically, though, M a y a pyram ids w e re dedicated to ancestor w orship. W hen kings and o th er h igh-ranking nobles d ied , pyram ids w e re raised over th e ir TOMBS. T e m ­ p le I a t T ik a l housed R u ler A and the T em p le o f Inscriptions a t P alenque h eld the rem ains o f Pacal: fro m the tim e these pyram ids w ere com pleted, they em bodied g re at kings and acted as the cen ter o f th e ir w orship. A lthough m ost M a y a pyram ids h eld the tom bs o f ancestors, some w e re dedicated to o th er purposes. R ad ial pyram ids, such as E V H -su b a t U axactun or the C astillo (T e m p le o f K ukulcan) a t C hichen Itz á , w ere places o f celeb ratio n for the com pletion o f periods o f tim e. Pyram ids w ith surrounding colonnades a t C hichen Itz á , such as the T e m p le o f the W a rrio rs, m ay have been dedicated to ru lersh ip and w a rfa re . Pyram ids o ften re p lic ate

MOUNTAINS,

p a r­

tic u la rly sacred m ountains. T h e dual pyram id d edicated to H u itzilo p o c h tli and T lalo c a t T en o c h titla n sym bolically recreates COATEPEC,

Q u a d rip a rtite

STER;

PALENQUE

m onster see BiCEPHALic

MON­

TRIAD

q u etzal K n ow n as th e quetza/Zi in N a h u a tl and in M a y a , the resp len d en t trogon, .Rharom acArus m ocm no, was p rize d fo r its extrao rd in a ry feath ers. T h e q u etzal lives in cloud forest, th a t ra re and v u ln e ra b le ecologi­ cal niche o f tropical ra in forest b etw e en 3000 and 4000 fe e t (ab o u t 900 m and 1200 m ) in a ltitu d e . S o litary creatures th a t a re ra re ly glim psed o th er than a t DAWN or dusk, quetzals feed on the w in g and o ften h o ver w h ile eatin g fru its , bugs, tre e frogs, o r snails. A lthough both m ale and fe m a le o f th e species a re b rillia n tly colored, w ith b lu e -g re en feath ers on w ings, ta il, and crest, and scarlet ones on th e breast, it is th e iridescence and unusual len g th o f the m ale ta il feath ers - o ften about a yard in len g th - th a t m ade the b ird th e m ost desired in a ll M esoam erica. Because o f th e ir ro le in e lite and ritu a l costum es, q u etzal feathers w e re an im p o rtan t e lem en t in M esoam erican trib u te . T h e fam ­ ous headdress housed in V ien n a th a t is often called M otecuhzom a's headdress (b u t w hich he p ro b ab ly n ever w o re ) includes 500 q u etzal feath ers. H u n ters w e re fo rb id d e n to k ill the birds; ra th e r, they stunned th em w ith a blow gun, rem oved the feath ers, and set them fre e . T h e m ales a re best spotted d uring the


141

QUETZALCOATL

nesting season: the birds nest in holes in tree trunks and w hen th e m ale sits on th e eggs, his !ong ta il feathers tra il out o f the nest. A lthough few M exican or M a y a ancien t cities w ere in q u etzal h a b ita t (th e M a y a city of C h in k u ltik is an exception), the b ird and its distinctive crest and feath ers w e re w e ll know n throughout M esoam erica. B ern al D ia z reported seeing quetzals in M otecu h zo m a II's zoo. XuTr was included in the nam e o f a num ber o f M a y a kings, and q u efza/, o f course, form ed p a rt o f QUETZALCOATL. In N ah u a tl poetry, the q u etzal fe a th e r was o ften m en­ tioned m etap h orically, and the idea o f its tearin g or decay re fe rre d to the transience o f

(Above) Disguised Aztec merchants obtaining quetzal plumes from Zinacantan, Chiapas, Florentine Codex, Book 9.

l i f e O n EARTH.

Q u etzalcoatl O n e o f the g re at gods o f ancient M esoam erica, Q u etzalcoatl is a m iraculous synthesis o f SERPENT and b ird . T h e Postclassic N a h u a tl nam e Q u etzalcoatl derives from the N a h u a tl term s fo r the em erald plum ed QUET ZAL ( P h a r m n a c h r M F m oc/nno) and the SERPENT, or coa ¿7. Thus the term could be glossed as "q u e tza l s erp en t," although the serpent is specifically a rattlesnake. T h e earliest know n representations o f this avian serpent appear am ong the F o rm ative O lm ecs. M o n u m e n t 19 from L a V e n ta portrays a rattlesn ake w ith an avian beak and fea th e r crest. N e x t to this snake, tw o q u etzal birds Hank a SKY BAND. A lthough the language o f the Olm ecs is s till unknow n, in M ay an languages the words for snake and SKY are id en tical. Thus it is possible th a t this sign is a reference to q u etzal sky or q uetzal snake. T h e earliest know n appearance o f the q u et­ zal serpent in C e n tra l M exico occurs a t the T em p le o f Q uetzalcoatl atT E O T iH U A C A N , dating to the 3rd c. A D . R epresentations o f plum ed serpents a lte rn a tin g w ith the mosaic head­ dress o f the WAR SERPENT - a probable ancestor o f the xiuH C O A T L Hre serpent - cover this rem arkab le structure. In the m urals o f T e o tihuacan and the la te r site o f C acaxtla, Q u e tza l­ coatl is ren dered as a snake covered w ith q uetzal plum es. A t both sites, this being appears w ith both drops o f RAIN and standing WATER,

3

(Above) Quetzalcoatl atop a pyramid, Codex TellerianoRemensis, 16th c. Aztec.

suggesting th at it was considered a

s p irit or d e ity o f w a te r. M o d e rn Pueblo peoples o f the A m erican Southw est id e n tify a plum ed serpent w ith w a te r. L ik e Q u etzalco atl, th e Z u n i K olow isi and the H o p i P alulukong plum ed w a te r ser­ pents can b rin g abundance and fe rtility . A lthough the fe a th e red serpent appears a t

(Agbf) Quetzalcoatl with bicephalic serpents, cut conch pectoral and hands in the form of quetzal heads, detail of a Late Classic pa/ma, Veracruz.

^


142

RABBIT such C lassic sites as T e o tih u ac an , X ochicalco,

Q u e tza lc o a tl w as closely id e n tifie d w ith

and C acaxtla, fe w hum an form s o f this b eing

the site o f C h o lu la w hich becam e the great

occur d u rin g the C lassic p erio d . O n e n o te w o r­

PILGRIMAGE c en ter fo r devotees o f Q u etzalco atl

thy exam ple appears on a stone PALMA from

d u rin g

L a te C lassic V e ra cru z, w h e re Q u e tza lc o a tl is

q u e n tly th e patron o f ru le rsh ip , Q u etzalco atl

show n w ith hum an hands c le v e rly ren d ered

w as also considered to be a god o f PRIESTS and

as

q u etzal

heads.

C o m b in ed

w ith

the

th e

L a te

Postclassic

p erio d .

MERCHANTS in L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico.

b icep h alic serpents covering the body, these

Fee

q u etzal heads p ro vid e an e x p lic it re fe ren c e

C O D S ; P U L Q U E ; T E O T IH U A C A N C O D S .

to

Q u e tza lc o a tl.

An

especially

F re ­

a /s o

C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ;

EHECATL;

M IX T E C

im p o rta n t

d e ta il is the sectioned conch w h o rl w orn on the chest o f the fig u re. T h is is id e n tic a l to the cut conch "w in d je w e l," o r eA ecai/acacozcaf/ o f the Postclassic Q u e tza lc o a tl. D u rin g the L a te Postclassic p erio d , Q u e tza lc o a tl usually

ra b b it A lo n g w ith the

appears in hum an form , o fte n w ith a conical

/agus spp.) w as one o f the favo red creatures o f the h u n t. F o r this reason, the Aztecs often

cap, the

w iN O

je w e l, and o th e r shell

JEW ELR Y.

DEER,

the ra b b it (3y/¿v-

A ra re M a y a form o f Q u etzalco atl m ay be

id e n tifie d rab bits w ith the h u n te r-g a th e re r

found on page 4a o f the D resden Codex.

Chichim ecs and th e ir p atro n h u n tin g god,

In L ate Postclassic C en tra! M exico , Q u e tzalcoat! often takes the form o f the god o f w in d , E h e ca tl-Q u e tzalc o atl. In this context, Q u etzalcoatl appears as the life -g iv in g aspect o f w ind . A ccording to the A ztec F lo re n tin e Codex, Q u etzalcoatl was the roadsw eeper o f the T la lo q u e rain gods, th a t is, the w ind that brings the rain clouds. A long w ith the conical h at and shell je w e lry , E h ecatl-Q u etzalco atl typ ically w ears a red buccal mask resem bling a duck beak. Patron o f the day E hecatl and the TRECENA 1 O celotl, E h ecatl-Q uetzalcoatl was the great culture hero, and plays an im por­ tan t role in C en tra! M exican C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS . Am ong the M ixtees o f Oaxaca, this figure was know n by the calendrica! nam e 9 W in d . In the ethnohistorical docum ents o f 16th c. M exico , the ancient d eity know n as Q u e tza l­ coatl is confused w ith the historical figure C e A catl T o p iltzin Q u etzalcoatl, the king o f legendary T O L L A N , now know n to be the site o f T u la . A ccording to A ztec b e lie f, C e A catl T o p iltzin Q u etzalcoatl d ep arted TOLLAN fo r th e red lands o f the east, an even t corrobor­ ate d by C o lo n ial docum ents from Yucatán w hich m ention the com ing o f an in d iv id u al nam ed K ukulcan, the Yucatec term fo r qu etzal serpent. In these accounts, K ukulcan is said to have come to C hichen Itz a , a site w ith striking sim ilarities to T u la . A t C hichen Itz a , depictions o f a m asked in d iv id u al backed by a green -plu m ed fea th e red serpent m ay re fe r to the actual historical in d iv id u al. H o w e v e r, the historical figure m ay have been apotheo­ sized a t D E A T H as his nam esake, thus fu rth e r b lu rrin g the distinction b etw een the m an and the god.

M ix c o A T L .

D u rin g the A zte c

VEINTENA

o f Q u ech -

o lli, d ed icated to M ix c o a tl, th e re w as a c ere­ m onial h u n t d u rin g w h ich d ee r, rab b its, and o th e r anim als w e re ro u ted and k ille d on Z ac ate p e tl M O U N T A IN . H o w e v e r, in an cien t M esoam erican re lig io n , the ra b b it is best know n as a sym bol o f the

M O O N.

M a n y peoples

o f the N e w W o rld and A sia observe the p a tte rn o f a ra b b it upon th e face o f the moon. D epictions o f the lu n a r ra b b it m ay be seen in P rehispanic C e n tra l M ex ico , the Classic M a y a a rea , and th e ceram ic M im b re s a rt o f the A m erican Southw est. In Postclassic C e n tra ! M exico , th e ra b b it was also closely id e n tifie d w ith the in to xic at­ ing d rin k P U L Q U E . T h is association is w e ll docum ented in the d ay nam e T o c h tli, m ean ­ ing ra b b it in N a h u a tl. T h e p atro n o f T o c h tli was M A Y A H U E L , the goddess o f M A G U E Y and by extension its p rin c ip a l product, pulque. M o re o v e r, the m any P U L Q U E CODS w e re know n collectively as the cenízon fofccAtm , m eaning 400 rab bits, or by the calen d rical nam e O m e T o c h tli, or 2 R ab b it. In Classic M a y a a rt, th e ra b b it steals the broad h a t and o th er re g alia o f G od L . T h e significance o f this m ythological episode is now unknow n. ra in T o th e farm in g peoples o f ancient M esoam erica, ra in was o f g re a t im portance. A t C halcatzingo, M orelo s, e xp lic it portrayals o f ra in occur as e a rly as the M id d le F o rm a tiv e p eriod, w h e re an O lm ec-style rock carving shows ra in fa llin g fro m clouds above young grow ing MAIZE and a m is t-fille d zoom orphic C A V E . F u rth e rm o re , the gods o f ra in and


143

REPTILE EYE

LIGHTNING are am ong the m ost continuously w orshipped deities in an cien t M esoam erica, and TLALOC o f C en tra! M exico , the Zapotee coeijo, and the M a y a CHAC can ai! be easily traced to the beginnings o f the Postclassic period. In the M a y a region, offerings continue to be m ade to C hac to this day. Auguries for ra in w ere o f g re at im portance. On page 28 o f the Codex B orgia, five T la lo q u e rain gods w a te r m aize Reids w ith various types o f rain . B eneficia! ra in is m arked w ith Rowery

JADE

signs, b u t the fou r o th er form s

are depicted as destroyers o f corn, specifically fiery rain (possibly dro u g ht), fungus ra in , w ind ra in , and flin t blade ra in , the last probably a referen ce to cutting h ail. T h e la te r pages o f the M a y a D resden codex are Riled w ith alm anacs concerning the Chacs and rain . In the C olonial Yucatec Books o f C h ilam

A rabbit holding the headdress and staff of Cod L, detail of a Late Classic Maya vase.

B alam , auguries describe speciRc types o f ra in ; in the C M a m B a/am o f C hum aye/, RABBIT sky rains, parched sky rains, w ood­ pecker sky rains, v u ltu re sky rains and DEER rains, are a ll set in re latio n to K atun 3 A hau. re p tile eye T h e re p tile eye sign is both an iconographic elem en t and a day nam e. In both cases, its m eaning is still unknow n. A t TEOTiHUACAN, the probable place o f origin for this sign, the re p tile eye appears p rim a rily as an iconographic device. C om m only occurring w ith in circu lar m edallions a t Teotihuacan, it tends to have a large curl placed against an eye -like elem en t a t the lo w e r portion o f the device. Because o f this sem icircular lo w er elem en t, the sign has been w idely in terp re ted as a re p tile 's eye. H o w ev er, ra th e r than re fe rrin g p rim a rily to an eye, the device m ay represent b rillia n c e or FIRE. In T eotihuacan iconography, eyes are freq u e n tly used to depict shining or reRective surfaces, such as MIRRORS or WATER. In add itio n , the Teotihuacan sign is often accom panied by secondary devices denoting Rre. D u rin g the L a te Classic period in highland M exico , the re p tile eye sign is w id e ly used as one o f the 20 day nam es o f the 260-day CALENDAR. As a day nam e, it appears at such sites as Teotenango, Xochicalco, and C acaxtla. A t Xochicalco and P ied ra L ab ra d a, V eracru z, the day glyph is depicted w ith Ram ing Rre elem ents. A lthough present at the E a rly Postclassic site o f T u la , the re p tile eye day glyph was no longer used du rin g the L a te Postclassic period. F o r this reason, the day sign cannot be re a d ily correlated w ith

A rabbit in the moon, Florentine Codex, 16th c. Aztec.

The reptile eye glyph, detail from a Teotihuacan vessel, Early Classic period.


RUBBER

144

the know n day glyphs o f the contact perio d

the lin eag e heads: " f t rem ains fo r you to give

ru b b e r O b ta in e d fro m th e latex sap o f th e ru b b e r tre e (GastáMa e /as#ca), ru b b er had a

b le ed in g your ears and passing a cord through your elbow s. You m ust w orship. T h is is your

v a rie ty o f uses in an cien t M eso am erica. T o

w ay o f g ivin g thanks b efo re your god. "

thanks, since you have y e t to take care of

the A ztecs, ru b b e r was know n as c/%i, from

A t th e tim e o f the C onquest, HUMAN sAcm

w hich the Spanish w ord fo r ru b b e r, h u /e ,

FiCE was seen as the fa ir exchange for the

derives. T h e w o rd o/A c le a rly relates to the

sacrifices th a t the gods had m ade to create

p ro b ab ly

the EARTH and h u m an ity . T h e violence o f

because o f the re m a rk a b le bouncing and

hum an sacrifice w as also p a rt o f the appease­

N a h u a tl

term

o/An,

or m o tio n ,

elastic q u alities o f ru b b e r. T h e b est-know n

m en t

use o f ru b b er was as the b a ll p layed in the

A ccording to

M eso am erican

BALLCAM E,

know n as o/^ama or

of

the

vio len ce

o f creation

the version

itself.

o f the creation

o f th e e a rth in the ZV/yfoyre t/u m ácA/gue, and

took

u /ia /n a in N a h u a tl. R ecent excavations a t the

Q UETZALCO ATL

O lm ec site o f E l M a n a tí have y ield e d the first

cuHTLi fro m the heavens, turned them selves

know n ru b b er balls in M eso am erica. D a tin g

in to

a hand and opposite foo t o f the goddess,

the balls a re p a rt o f

SERPENTS,

and

th en , each

TLALTE

roughly to the 9th c.

B e,

tw o

TEZCATHPOCA

taking

a rich assem blage o f offerings placed in a

squeezed h er u n til she s p lit in h a lf. O f one

SPRING. It

h a lf, they form ed the

is e n tire ly ap p ro p riate th a t the

SKY

and o f the o th er

whose nam e (given to them by the A ztecs)

h a lf, the e a rth . A ll the gods then descended to console h e r, "an d they o rd ain ed th a t from

can be tra n s ite d as

h er w ould spring a ll the fru it necessary fo r

first know n ru b b er derives from the O lm ecs, 'th e ru b b er p e o p le ."

T h e hum id O fm ec h eartfand o f the southern

the life o f m an. A n d in o rd e r to do this, they

G u lf Coast was a w ell-kn o w n ru b b er produc­

m ade o f h e r h a ir trees and Rowers and grasses, o f h e r skin m any com m on and sm all

ing region. In a dd itio n to its use in the M esoam erican ballgam e, ru b b er also served m edicinal purposes. According to the F lo re n tin e Codex, the latex was drunk w ith chocolate to re lie ve stomach and in testin al upset. As a sap, ru b b er was also treated as an INCENSE much lik e copa/. In the offerings recovered from the Sacred C enote o f C hichen Itz á , ru b b er was fre ­ q u en tly m ixed w ith copa/. T h e ru b b er latex was o fte n burned as a b a ll, in efBgy form , or as drops sprinkled upon PAPER. Because o f the thick clo u d-like sm oke, ru b b er was a favored offerin g to the R A IN gods.

sacrifice M esoam erican CO DS re q u ired sacri­ fice. A ccording to the PO PO L v u H o f the Q uiche M a y a , the gods re q u ired praise from th e ir subjects, w hom they had m ade; w hen praise was not forthcom ing, they destroyed them . O nce the gods had created hum ans w ho d id praise them , these people w e re given th e ir ow n god B U N D L E S , and the c h ie f Q uiche lineage received T O H iL , w ho dem anded the sacrifice o f HEAR TS in exchange for his g ift o f F IR E . T h e trib a l leaders offered precious m e ta l, but T o h il insisted on costlier sacrifice: hum an flesh. T o h il then m ade fu rth e r dem ands o f

flow ers, o f h e r eyes w ells

and

fountains

and little caverns, o f h e r nose valleys and m ountains, and o f h er shoulders m ountains. A n d this goddess c ried m any tim es in the n ig h t d esiring the hearts o f m en to e a t. A n d she w ould not be q u ie t ju s t w ith those th a t w e re given h er, nor w o u ld she take fru it unless it was sprin kled w ith the blood o f m e n ." H um ans liv e d in the d e b t of, and a t the grace of, the gods: th e ravaged body o f T la lte c u h tli p ro vid ed the sustenance fo r h u m an ity, and she h o w led a t N IG H T unless offered hum an B L O O D . M esoam erican gods could see through insincerity. In the A ztec account o f the creation o f th e fifth sun (see F IV E s u N s ) , the gods sought volunteers to becom e the S U N . T ecu ciztecat! p u t h im s elf fo rw a rd , and th en , m ore hesi­ ta n tly , N a n a h u a tzin cam e fo rw a rd w hen called to do so. As a p re p a ra to ry sacrifice, the tw o fasted fo r fo u r days and p erfo rm ed penance. A ccording to Sahagun, " th a t w ith w hich [T e c u c izte c a tl] d id penance was a ll costly. H is fir branches [w e re ] q u etzal fea th ­ ers, and his grass balls o f gold; his m aguey spines o f green stone; the red den ed , bloodied spines o f coral. A n d his incense was very good incense. A nd [as fo r] N an a h u a tzin , his fir branches w e re m ade only o f green w a te r rushes - green reeds bound in threes . . . A nd his grass balls [w e re ] only d rie d p ine needles.


145

SACRIFICE

And his m aguey spines w e re these same m aguey spines. A nd the M ood w ith w hich they w ere covered [w as] his ow n M ood. A nd [fo r] his incense, he used only the scabs from his sores . . ." (F C : vn) N an ah uatzin 's spines to pierce the Resh, then, w e re red w ith his ow n M ood, w h ile T ecu ciztecatl's w e re o f a precious red coral. Even N anahuatzin's incense was o f his ow n Resh. T h e fou r days o f penance com pleted, these tw o w ere to becom e gods by im m olatin g th e m ­ selves in the bonRre m ade by the gods. F o u r tim es T ecu ciztecatl ran up to the Rre b u t le ap t back. O n ly w hen N an a h u a tzin took his turn and h u rled h im self in to the Rre d id T ecu cizte­ catl fo llo w . N an ah uatzin rose as the sun. W h en Tecu ciztecatl rose w ith equal b rillia n c e , one o f the gods darkened the face o f T ecu ciztecatl w ith a RABBIT, and he was m ade the lesser heav­ enly body, the M OO N. In this story, the sincerity, generosity, and im m ediacy o f sacrifice a re the keys to N an ah uatzin 's transform ation. G e n era lly the m ost im p o rtan t form s o f sacrifice w ere the most precious: hum an Resh and M ood, w h e th e r d raw n from one's ow n body or from a sacrificial victim . Such o ffe r­ ings could be m ade through anointm ent o f sculptures o f gods or through offerings in special vessels, or through th e ir transfor­ m ation into Rre and smoke. AUTOSACRiFiCE in p artic u la r was freq u e n tly collected on strips o f bark PAPER and then set aRre. In the resulting sm oke, a supplicant w ould see the ancestor or god to w hom the sacriRce was m ade. A n offering o f INCENSE or TOBACCO also generated copious smoke and often accom­ panied other sacriRces. O th e r offerings w ere also im p o rtan t as sacriRces, and a t tim es, m ay have preem pted hum an blood. W h en Q uetzalcoatl cam e to T u la , he supposedly com m anded only a p e r­ fect devotion and the offering o f serpents and BUTTERFLIES. In both C e n tra l M exico and am ong the M a y a , Docs, q u ail, and turkeys w e re a ll reg ular offerings, as w ere foodstuffs. T h e offerings recovered from the Sacred C enote at C hichen Itz a reveal the im portance o f precious m etals and JADE as sacriRcial offerings, and the abundant vessels offered th e re and in o th er places o f sacriRcial deposit, such as CAVES, dedication caches, and m ountaintop shrines, surely held varie d offerings, including balls o f incense and foodstuffs. T h e offering o f dough im ages form ed another means o f sacriRce to th e gods. K now n as tzoaZ/i, these dough im ages w e re m ade o f

SacriRce: Lady Xoc kneels before the ruler of Yaxchilán, Shield Jaguar, and performs a bloodletting ritual by passing a spiny chord through her tongue. Whereas ancient Maya men commonly performed bloodletting from the penis, the tongue appears to have been the favored organ for Maya women. Yaxchilán Lintel 24, Late Classic Maya.

Penitent priest in the act of self-sacriHce, Codex Borgia, p. 10, Late Postclassic period. In the Borgia Group of codices, the act of piercing the eye serves as a symbol of penance.


SCHELLHAS CO DS

146

ground AMARANTH m ixed w ith hum an b!ood

C o d A A lth o u g h not isolated by Schelthsa,

and a sticky sw ee te n er, o fte n honey, to b in d

C od A ' is a d istin ct d ea th god w ho usually

th e m ix tu re tog eth er. D u rin g ce!ebrations fo r

has a h o rizo n tal black band across the eyes

the VEINTENA o f P a n q u e tza liztli, a la rg e dough

and th e A k b a l sign o f darkness upon his

im age o f m o untain

was m ade o ver a

b ro w . T h is god is o f considerable a n tiq u ity ,

d u rin g T e p e ilh u itl, dough

ap p e arin g in E a rly C lassic M a y a a rt as w e ll

H U iT Z iL O P O C H T L i

w ooden fra m e ;

efEgies

w e re

m ade.

U su ally

in

conjunction w ith hum an sacrifice, celeb ran ts ritu a lly

broke

a p a rt

the

tzoa/A

and

a te

as in th e Postclassic codices. C o d A ' is a d eity o f v io le n t SACRIFICE, such as d ecap itatio n . C o d F : T h is d e ity is the Postclassic form o f one o f the m ost continuously w o r­

them to com m une w ith the gods. See a/so

CHAC,

C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ; C U A U H X IC A L U .

shipped gods- o f an c ie n t M eso am erica. T h e

Schellhas gods D u rin g th e p io n eerin g eRorts

rep resen ted

M a y a god o f

R A IN

and

on S tela

L IG H T N IN G ,

1 from

C hac is

Protoclassic

o f the ¡ate 19th c., researchers faced a com p¡ex

Iza p a . M a y a ep ig rap h y reveals th a t during

and poorly understood a rra y o f su p ern atu ral

both th e Classic and Postclassic periods, this

beings in th e th ree ancien t M a y a screenfblds

d e ity w as a c tu a lly nam ed C hac.

know n as the D resd en , Paris, and M a d rid

C o d C : A ltho u g h fre q u e n tly and erroneously

codices. Paul Schellhas, the first to id e n tify

id e n tifie d as the god o f the north star, Cod

system atically the various gods and accom ­

C is a c tu a lly a personiH cation o f the concept

panying nam e glyphs occurring in these Post­

o f sacredness. Thus d u rin g both the Classic

classic screen folds, organized and lab eled the

and Postclassic periods, the p o rtra it o f this

various gods according to the L a tin alp h ab et.

god p ro vid ed th e ph o netic valu e o f Au or

B eginning w ith A , each isolated god was thus

ch'u, a p a n -M a y a n term s ig n ifyin g d e ity or

provided w ith a le tte r designation.

sacredness. C o d D : O n e o f the g re a t gods o f the M a y a

T h e Schellhas system o f le tte r designation has proven to be o f g re at use for several reasons. F o r one, the poorly understood id e n titie s o f p artic u la r gods can be re fe rre d to by non-com m ittal letters, ra th e r than by a tenuous or uncertain m eaning, such as WIND C od, or EARTH G od. F u rth e rm o re , le tte r desig­ nations avoid the use o f w h o lly in ap p ro p riate M a y a n term s. A lthough the M A IZ E C O D , C od E, is freq u e n tly re fe rre d to as Yum Kaax in m odern lite ra tu re , this term sim ply means 'lo r d o f the forest bush" and bears no d ire ct re latio n to m aize or even the corn Held. In add itio n , the Yucatec M a y a o ften called a p a rtic u la r god by a num ber o f epithets, and it is fre q u e n tly d ilE cu lt to select w hich term is the m ost ap p ro p riate. A g ain , recen t research indicates th a t the m a jo rity o f Postclassic codical gods isolated by Schellhas also appear in the Classic p erio d , and it is u n w a rran ted to assume th a t the Yucatec d e ity term s recorded for the e a rly C o lo n ial period w e re also p re ­ sent du rin g th e Classic era. A side from a fe w em endations and additions, the Schellhas god lis t continues to be w id e ly used in M a y a studies. C o d A : T h e skeletal god o f D E A T H , G od A is eq u iva len t to M iC T L A N T E C U H T L i o f C e n tra l M exico. O n page 77 o f the M a d rid Codex, he is p h o netically nam ed C izin , or "fla tu le n t o n e," a com m on term fo r the d ev il in contem ­ p o rary Yucatec.

pantheon, G od D appears to be the M a y a form o f the aged c rea to r god, m uch lik e T O N A C A T E C U H T L i o f C e n tra ! M exico . D u rin g both the Classic and D was re fe rre d to to be a god closely p rie stly know ledge,

Postclassic periods, God as iTZAMNA. H e seems id en tiH ed w ith esoteric such as D iv iN A T iO N and

W R IT IN G .

C o d F : T h e M a y a god o f MAIZE, th e Postclassic G od E usually has a hum an head th a t m erges in to a grow ing m aize e ar. D u rin g th e Classic p eriod, th e re w e re tw o re la te d form s o f the m aize god. O n e o f these, the F o lia te d M a iz e C od, is essentially id e n tic a l in fo rm to the Postclassic G od E . T h e o th e r Classic form , the Tonsured M a iz e G od, has a hum an head fla tte n e d by c ran ia l d efo rm a tio n to resem ble a m a tu re m aize ear. T h e Tonsured M a iz e G od is th e Classic p ro to typ e o f H U N H U N A H P U , the fa th e r o f the Q uiche H e ro T w in s. Cocf F : U n fo rtu n a te ly , w ith this le tte r desig­ n atio n Schellhas conflated and confused three distinct gods. O n e o f these w as th e afo rem en ­ tioned G od A ', w hereas th e o th er tw o w e re coined C od Q and C o d R by J. E ric S. Thom pson. Thus in contem porary usage, th e re is no speciHc d e ity c o rrela tin g to C od F. C<x/ C : T h e SUN god o f th e M a y a , G od C com m only appears w ith th e solar Am glyph upon his head or body. In the codices, he


147

SCHELLHAS CODS

seems be nam ed K iN iC H A H AU , or "sun-faced lo rd /* D u rin g the Classic p erio d , this being appears as the head coeiE cient o f the num era! 4. Cods i f a n d C H : U n d e r th e le tte r H , Schellhas conflated tw o d istinct gods. O n e of these is a poorly understood yo u th fu l m ale d eity th a t m ay be a M a y a version o f the w in d god. A lthough this being is s till know n as C od H , the o th er figure has been term ed G od C H by G . Z im m erm an n. E rroneously called the "C hicchan G o d /' God C H is the Postclassic codical form o f the Classic H ead b an d T w in w ith JAGUAR p e lt m arkings. T h is being is the Prehispanic form o f X b alan q u e, one o f the H ero T w in s o f the Q uiche POPOLvuH. Goddess f: A lthough Schellhas id e n tifie d this goddess as an old w om an, subsequent schol足 ars have considered Goddess I to be a d iffe r足 e n t being, a you th fu l and b e a u tifu l w om an. A lthough this y ou th fu l goddess has often been id e n tifie d as ixcHEL and the M OON god足 dess, th ere is no concrete evidence th a t she was e ith e r. In fact, Ixch el appears to have been the aged Goddess O , not Goddess 1. In the codices, the lo vely Goddess I is often coupled w ith various m ale gods, and it is like ly th a t she is id e n tifie d w ith hum an fe rtility and sensual love. C od D u rin g the Postclassic period, God K appears w ith a large u p w ard ly turned snout. T h e Classic form o f God K displays a sim ilar uptu rn ed nose, although in this case the d eity typ ically has a burning torch or CELT in his forehead and a sm oking SERPENT foot. T h e Classic God K also occurs as the MANIKIN SCEPTER held by Chac and M a y a rulers. I t appears th a t God K was id e n tifie d w ith ligh tn in g , FIRE, and dynastic descent. E p igraphic evidence indicates th a t God K was ancien tly know n as K au il, a d eity nam e also appearing in e arly C olonial Yucatec texts. C o d L : A n aged and fre q u e n tly black JAGUAR GOD, God L com m only w ears an ornam ented back cape and a larg e, b road-brim m ed h ead 足 dress topped by the MUAN OW L. An im p o rtan t god o f the UNDERWORLD, God L was also a m erchant god. Thus during the Classic period, God L com m only appears w ith a m erchant bundle (see MERCHANTS). R ecent excavations a t the L a te Classic site o f C acaxtla, T laxcala, have uncovered a m u ral d ep ictin g God L w ith a m erchant bundle com plete w ith feathers and o th er trad in g goods. C o d M : O ne o f the m ost strikin g gods o f the M a y a codices, C od M is a black d e ity w ith a

MYTHOLOGICAL A N IM A IS .

1

2

*

1

The Schellhas god list published in 1904.

*

?


SCRIBAL CODS

146

pendulous lo w e r lip and long P in occh io-like

com m only d ep icted patrons o f w ritin g and

nose. T h is d e ity is a M a y a form o f Y acate-

tim e ke ep in g ,

c u h tli, th e long-nosed m e rch an t god o f C e n tra l

scribes and artists o f th e POPOLVUH, H u n B atz and H u n C h uen (see MONKEY). T h e y usually

M ex ico . G od M

is p rim a rily a Postclassic

h o w ever,

a re

th e

m onkey

M a y a god th a t appears to have g ra d u a lly

have a DEER e ar o ver the hum an one, and

eclipsed th e e a rlie r M a y a m erch an t d e ity ,

hold an in k p o t, p en , or

C o d L . T h e contact perio d nam e o f this god

be a m onkey grotesque o r th a t o f a b e a u tifu l

was E k C h u a h , eHr b eing th e M a y a n w o rd fo r black.

be attach ed to the body.

coDEx;

the face m ay

young hu m an , and a s trip o f " p rin t-o u t" m ay

C o J JV: In th e codices and C lassic M a y a a rt, the aged G od N com m only appears w e arin g

sea T h e sea w as w id e ly b elieved to be the

a TURTLE carapace or conch upon his back.

p rim o rd ia l

D u rin g both the Classic and Postclassic p e r­

flo ated . Since this w a te r lay u n d ern eath the

WATER

upon

w h ich

the

EARTH

iods, the nam e o f this god was p h o n e tica lly

e a rth , sub terran ean and surface bodies o f

w ritte n as PAUAHTUN. Q u a d rip a rtite in n a tu re ,

fresh w a te r w e re also id e n tifie d w ith th e sea.

God

N

seems to have had

th e

w e ig h ty

responsibility o f supporting th e SKY.

In an e a rly Classic m u ral from th e T e m p le o f A g ric u ltu re a t TEOTiHUACAN, fre s h w a te r WATER

C o& fess O : A n aged and fearsom e goddess,

HUES flo a t atop w aves con tain in g sea SHELLS.

Goddess O usually has ja g u a r claw s as hands

M a rin e shells fro m both the G u lf C oast and

and w ears a serpent in h er headdress. In the

th e P acific abound in T eo tih u acan represen­

codices she is p h o netically nam ed C hac C h el.

tations. A t the T eo tih u ac an a p a rtm e n t com ­

Goddess O appears to be an aged gen etrix, much lik e the A ztec rLAMATECUiiTLi-ciHUACOATL.

Coc/ P: A lthough term ed a frog god by Schellhas, C od P m ay not be a d istinct d eity . A p pearin g only in the M a d rid Codex, this being m ay sim ply be a version o f C od N . scribal gods A num ber o f M esoam erican gods served as the patrons o f WRITING and the arts. T h e Aztecs a ttrib u te d a ll such lo re g en erically to the Toltecs: They w ere thinkers, fo r they o rig in ated the yea r count, the day count; they established the w ay in w hich the n ig h t, the day, w ould w o rk; w hich sign was good, fav o r­ a ble; and w hich was e v il, the day sign o f w ild beasts. A ll th e ir discoveries form ed the book fo r in te rp re tin g d re am s /* (F C : x) Those born d u rin g the TRECENA 1 M o n k ey w e re m ost lik e ly to be artists and scribes. As patro n o f the trecena 1 M o n k ey , xocm riLLi m ay be the C e n tra l M exican p atro n o f scribes and WRIT­ ING.

F o r the M a y a , scribal gods are both m ore exp lic it and m ore num erous. A ccording to various sources, rrzAMNA invented w ritin g , and he appears as a scribe on Classic M a y a pots; occasionally he teaches o th er scribes and instructs them in th e ir counting. A super­ n a tu ra l RABBIT scribe sits as if he w e re a stenographer and records a scene on a M a y a pot. In the M a d rid Codex, CHAC w rite s, paints, and spews a stream o f "p rin t-o u t,** as M a y a n ists have term ed num bered strips o f p ap er th a t scribal gods occasionally b ear. T h e most

pound o f T e titla , a p a ir o f m urals illu strates divers c ollectin g shells in n etted bags. T h e C lassic M a y a c le a rly id e n tifie d th e sea w ith fresh w a te r and the w a te ry UNDERWORLD. As a t T eo tih u ac an , the w a te r lily is id e n tifie d w ith the p rim o rd ia l sea. T h e M a y a n w o rd fo r w a te r lily , na6, can also d en o te th e sea and o th er standing bodies o f w a te r. O n e head v a ria n t o f the n u m eral 13, th e WATER LILY SERPENT, ty p ic a lly appears w ith a bound w a te r

lily pad headdress. A n e lab o ra te stucco frie ze a t the T e m p le o f the Seven D o lls a t D z ib ilchaltu n depicts this w a te r lily serp ent w ith w a te r signs and m a rin e life ; accom panying caches contained ab u n d a n t rem ains o f m a rin e shell. I t is q u ite possible th a t this b eing is a sea god. T h e A zte c T em p lo M a y o r contains one o f th e clearest id en tificatio n s o f the sea w ith fresh w a te r and a g ric u ltu ra l fe rtility . O n the TLALOC side o f the te m p le , corresponding to th e w a te ry m o untain o f fe rtility and susten­ ance, e lab o rate caches contained sea shells, coral, and even m arin e fish. serpent In religious term s, serpents m ay have been the m ost im p o rta n t fau n a o f M esoam erica. N o single o th er type o f crea­ tu re receives such e lab o ra te tre a tm e n t in Sahagun*s F lo re n tin e C odex, fo r exam ple, in term s o f e ith e r text or illu stratio n . A nd although m any p o w e rfu l anim als - JAGUARS and EAGLES, m ost n o tab ly - p lay an im p o rta n t ro le in iconography, snakes, perhaps because o f th e ir num ber and v a rie ty in the n atu ral


149

SERPENT

w orld, have the broadest and m ost v arie d roles in relig io n and religious sym bolism : in states o f ecstasy, lords dance a serpent DANCE; great descending rattlesnakes adorn and sup­ port buildings from C hichen Itz á to T e n o c h titlan, and the N a h u a tl w ord coat/, m eaning serpent or tw in , form s p a rt o f th e nam es o f prim ary deities such as MDtcoATL, QUETZAL COATL, and COATLICUE. Am ong the most im p o rta n t snakes in M esoam erica are the boa constrictor, the fe rde-lance, the rattlesn ake, and the bushm aster. T h e harm less boa constrictor (C b n stn cfo r constrictor), called c/ncchan by the M a y a and m azacoat/ by the Aztecs, m ade d p rized costum e elem en t, as evidenced by the stuffed boa skins w orn by M a y a lords in the B onam pak m urals. T h e fe r-d e-la n ce (B othrops a tro z), silen tly coils befo re striking, u n like its fe llo w p it v ip er, the rattlesn ake (C ro fa/u s durissus), w hich gives a w arn in g w ith its tw itch in g rattles. T h e deadly bushm aster o f

The monkey scribal gods painting a codex, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase.

C e n tra l A m erica (LecAesis m u ta) is second in size only to the In d ia n king cobra am ong the w orld's poisonous snakes reaches 10' (3 m ) in length.

and

often

T h e Aztecs m ade a large num ber o f sculp­ tures o f rattlesnakes, m any o f them extrem ely n atu ralistic, and they are characteristically carved on a ll sides, including the underside. In both C e n tra l M exican and M a y a day counts, the fifth day is snake. Snakeskin, w ith its d ram atic geom etric p attern in g , is fre q u e n tly em ulated in textiles and architec­ tu ral ornam ent. E xp licit rattlesnakes are rare in Classic M a y a a rt b u t occur w ith g reat frequency in the a rt o f C hichen Itz á . A lthough serpents com bine w ith other creatures to m ake m any fantastic anim als found in no zoological guide, the open snake m outh is the fe a tu re on w hich m any deities, g en erally those w ith upturned snouts, are based. T h e forked tongue is a characteristic unique to serpents; it is not to be confused w ith the long, curling proboscis o f the BUTTERFLY. T w o features o f serpentine behavior w ere probably o f p aram ount in terest to M eso am erican peoples: first, snakes sw allow th e ir prey w hole, le ttin g it decompose inside th e ir bod­ ies; and second, snakes shed th e ir skins. T h e skins split along th e ir backs, allo w in g the snake to slith er out, leaving behind the old skin, and in the case o f rattlesnakes, even the rattle s. Both these features o f snake behavior m ay have supported the p an -M esoam erican notion th a t snakes w e re vehicles o f re b irth

Coral, shell, and other sea offerings deposited in a cache on the Tlaloc side of the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan, Late Postclassic Aztec.


SERPENT and tran s fo rm a tio n , fo r g re a t superna tu ra! serpents fre q u e n tly belch a n o th er c re a tu re

ucHTM Nc bolts they hurt from the wouwTAma w h e re RAIN gods m ake th e ir re tre a t. A lthough

from th e ir m ouths - a w a rrio r, a h u m an , a

E uropeans g en e rally see lig h tn in g as jagged

god, or a skeleton.

ra th e r than u n d u latin g lik e a serpent, w hen lig h tn in g strikes sand it can form an u n d u lat­

T h re e fu n d a m en tal notions accom pany the M eso am erican serpent: one, th a t th e serp ent is WATER, the con d u it o f w a te r, or th e b e a re r

in g solid strand o f glass, and M esoam erican peoples m ay have been fa m ilia r w ith this

o f w a te r; tw o , th a t its m outh opens to a CAVE;

phenom enon.

and th re e , th a t the serpent is th e SKY. A m ong

T h e serp ent w as the body fo r m any speci-

the M a y a , linguistic support survives fo r the

Hcally M a y a gods and deiHed objects. T h e

la tte r concept:

e a rlie s t versions o f the CEREMONIAL BAR are

the

w ords snake and sky

a re hom ophones, g e n e ra lly caan or chan,

Hoppy d o u ble-h ead ed serpents from w hich

dep en d in g on the language, and th e sam e

em erge th e heads o f gods and ancestors; la te r

w o rd is usually the n u m b er 4 as w e ll. M a n y

exam ples a re g e n e ra lly s tiff stylized

M eso am erican

O ccasionally b ea rin g iconography o f th e sky

d eities ,

in clu d in g

serpent

bars.

d eities, a re considered to exist as fours, o r as

b an d , th e cerem o n ial b ar p ro b ab ly sym bol­

fo u r-in -o n e , o ften w ith separate color and

ized the sky its e lf. T h e ru le r w ho held it thus

d ire c tio n a l associations. M esoam erican people b elieved in serpent

h eld th e sky. W ith his u p tu rn e d snout and serp ent leg,

d eities from e arliest tim es. T h e fea th e red

C I I o f the PALENQUE TRiAD gods is based on the

serpent occurs from O lm ec tim es on, and

serpent. T h e serp ent leg form s th e s ta ff to be

although it is rare am ong the Classic M a y a ,

h eld by rulers w h en C I I is in the form o f the

it is com m on a t contem porary TEOTmuACAN.

MANIKIN SCEPTER. T h e only analogous fe a tu re

A t Postclassic T u la , C hichen Itz á , and T e n -

o f any C e n tra l M e x ica n god is th e serp ent foot

o ch titla n , the feath ered serpent was g en erally know n as Q u etzalco atl, and u n til the Spanish C onquest, was g en erally conHgured as a rattlesn ake w ith b rig h t green p arro t or Q U E T ­

fe e t. In states o f ecstasy and u su ally fo llo w in g

feath ers, ra th e r than as a hum an. T h e fea th e red serpents ra re ly hold another crea­ tu re in th e ir m ouths; w hen they do, it is often the hum an im personator o f Q u etzalcoatl. In various A ztec accounts, Q u etzalcoatl turns h im self in to a serpent and then back in to an anthropom orphic god. T h e feath ered serpents a t Teo tih u acan and C acaxtla have specific aquatic associations. O n the T em p le o f Q u etzalcoatl a t T e o tih u a ­ can, fea th e red serpents w ith ru ffed collars How dow n the balustrades and form u n d u lat­ ing friezes across the tem p le; m arin e SHELLS conch, pecten, and spondylus - H!1 the in te r­ stices and g re at WAR SERPENT headdresses ju t out fro m the frie ze a t re g u lar in tervals. In th e m urals a t C acaxtla, a lo rd in a b ird suit stands on top o f a b rillia n t green fea th e red serpent w ho Hows dow n the side to the base o f the p ain tin g , a ll the w h ile atop fres h w ate r aqu atic life . T h e fea th e red serpents th a t function as columns (i.e . serpent colum ns) a t C hichen Itz á , T u la , and other Postclassic ZA L

cities m ay w e ll in d icate the channeling o f w a te r and life -g iv in g forces from the sky to th e EARTH. B oth TLALOC and CHAC carry snakes in th e ir hands horn tim e to tim e; these snakes are the

th a t som etim es replaces one o f TEZCATLiPOCA's

BLOODLETTiNC, p a rtic u la rly as g ra p h ica lly depicted a t Yaxchilán, M a y a n o b ility conjure

up the visiON SERPENT. T h is g re a t u n d u latin g serpent rises fro m b u rn in g bloody PAPER, and from its m outh em erges an ancestor or, occasionally, a d e ity . T h e serp ent its e lf, then , is p ro b ab ly w h a t one sees in the clouds o f smoke rising fro m the b u rn in g SACRIFICE, and cloud symbols m ay Hank the vision serp ent s body. T h e vision serp ent can b e th e veh icle by w hich ancestors or d eities m ake them selves m an ifest fo r h u m an ity , and is p ro b ab ly the sky serpent com m only dep icted a t C h ich en Itz á , p a rtic u la rly on th e gold plates dredged fro m the Sacred C en o te. A s im ila r deiHed serpent, th e xiuHCOATL, know n as th e Hre serpent, b u t m ore lite ra lly turquoise snake, plays an im p o rta n t ro le in A ztec religious iconography. HurrziLOPOCHTH brandished the X iu h c o atl as his w eapon w hen he was born, and the X iu h c o atl fre q u e n tly appears in d ep en d en tly. O n th e A ztec C a le n ­ d ar Stone, h o w ever, tw o Xiuhcoatls carry the SUN on th e ir backs, and from th e ir m ouths em erge w h a t m ay be deiHed ancestors; the tied knots o f paper on th e ir bodies are the same b lo o d lettin g knots used a m illen n iu m before by the M a y a . T h e snakes, then , are the vehicle fo r the m ovem ent o f the sun, the


151

7 AND 9 ZOOMORPHIC HEADS

bearers o f ancestors, and carry references to bloodletting. A coATEPANTLi, o r snake w a ll, was con­ structed a t m any Postclassic cities to shield sacred buildings or precincts. T h e earlies t know n exam ple is a t T u la , w h e re a frie ze o f rattlesnakes spews or devours hum an skele­ tons. T h e m ain C e n tra l M ex ica n serpent gods at the tim e o f the Spanish C onquest w ere Q uetzalcoat! and M ixc o atl. T h e y w e re both celestial serpents, Q u e tza lc o a tl as th e WIND, a sky serpent, and the b ea re r o f bounty; M ixco atl as the personification o f the MILKY C oatlicue is characterized by h er skirt o f snakes, b u t she does not take the form o f a serpent. cmcoMECOATL, 7 Snake, is a MAIZE

WAY.

CODDESS w ith a calen d rical nam e; in one instance she is v iv id ly represented by cobs o f m aize carved on a rattlesn ake ta il. Dances w ith snakes or in im ita tio n o f ser­ p entine m ovem ents played an im p o rtan t role in ancient rituals (see DANCE). B oth M a y a pots and carved m onum ents d ep ict dances w ith snakes, and in a t least one case, the text specifically reads th a t a M a y a king "p e rfo r­ m ed the snake dance." D u rin g the A ztec VEINTENA o f P achtontli, m en, w om en, and child ren adorned in feathers lin ked hands and sang w h ile perform ing the serpent dance. D u rin g To xcatl, young seasoned w arriors lin ked hands and m oved in an undulating p attern , p erform ing the serpent dance w h ile young w om en sim ultaneously danced the popcorn dance, w ith carefu l supervision a ll the w h ile th a t none o f the w om en be seduced by the serpent dancers.

Aztec serpent sculptures. (Top) Turquoise mosaic pectoral of a double-headed rattlesnake. (A&ove) Stone carving of a coiled rattlesnake.

7 and 9 zoom orphic heads T w o d istinct heads o ften app ear as a p air in Classic M a y a icono­ graphy, and each bears a coefficient in bar and dot n um eration, one o f 7 and the other o f 9. Both heads have long, u pturned snouts based on the shape o f a SERPENT head, b u t the lo w e r ja w (and som etim es the e n tire head) is skeletal. T h e 7 head bears the glyphs (b lack), n a /(e a r o f MAIZE), and Áran (som etim es a referen ce to m aize); the 9 head includes a ra re glyph fo r 20 (m ay) and m ig h t re fe r to an obscure d e ity -

Bolon M a y e l -

know n in

C onquest-era Yucatan. T h e 7 and 9 zoom orphic heads m ay be carried in the hand, rest on CEREMONIAL BARS, or set Boating in space, in cised obsidians m ay d ep ict the heads, as m ay the e xterio r surfaces o f cache vessels. T h e m eaning o f these heads

The 7 and 9 heads, Temple of the Sun, Palenque, Late Classic Maya.


SHAMAN is not d e a r,

152 b u t th ey

m ig h t fun ctio n as

toponym s re fe rrin g to sup em atu ra! places.

cer, th e ja g u a r is th e sham anic s p irit com ­ panion p a r exce#ence. Am ong the Classic M a y a , th e glyph d en o tin g a UAY, or sp iritu al

sham an In anthropological lite ra tu re , th e re

a lte r ego, is a stylized hum an face h a lf covered

is fre q u e n tly a d istinctio n b etw e en th e cere ­

by a ja g u a r skin. T h e d e ity o f sham ans and

m onial roles o f PRIEST and sham an. W h ereas a p rie st tends to com m unicate w ith the d iv in e

sorcerers o f L a te Postclassic C en tra! M exico , TEZCATLiPOCA also appears to have had the

through offerings and p ra y e r, th e sham an

ja g u a r as his s p iritu a l co-essence. See a/?o

becom es an a ctu al veh icle fo r the super­

NAHUAL; TONAL; UAY.

n atu ral through ecstatic trance and s p iritpossession. D u rin g ecstatic trances -

often

shark R ecen tly, T o m Jones has d ete rm in ed

brought on by DANCE, HALLUCINOGENS, or d e p ri­

th a t th e E nglish w o rd shark is b orrow ed from

vation - the sham an in teracts d ire c tly w ith

th e M a y a xoc, as in tro d uced by English sailors

the s p irit w o rld . W hereas priests a re p a rt o f

w h o had encountered the c rea tu re in the

an established religious bureaucracy, sham ­

C a rib b e a n Sea. Because the b u ll or cub shark

ans tend to be m ore in d ep en d en t, w ith th e ir

leaves th e SEA and travels in to fresh WATER,

pow er based upon personal charism a and

th e

expertise. A lthough

M esoam ericans w ho liv e d along the sea coast

the contrast b etw een

c rea tu re

w as

fa m ilia r

not

only

to

priest and sham an is a useful dichotom y, the

b u t p ro b ab ly also to those w ho liv e d w e ll

d istinction is not hard and fast. In actual

u p riv e r, such as the M a y a o f Piedras N egras and Yaxchilán o r th e O lm ecs o f San Lorenzo.

practice, the roles o f sham an and p riest o verlap considerably. A lthough p riestly offices w e re com m on in the com plex urban societies o f Postclassic M esoam erica, m any p riestly roles suggest an o ld er substratum o f sham anic b e lie f and practice. T h e term sham an is not

n ative

to

M esoam erica or even to the N e w W o rld but ra th e r derives from the Tungus language o f S iberia. N onetheless, m any o f the traits observed in Siberian sham anism , such as ecstatic trance, supernatural flig h t, and a nim al s p irit com panions, are also present in m uch o f the N ew W o rld , including M esoam erica. M a n y features o f M eso am erican sham anism are o f considerable a n tiq u ity , and w e re probably brought from Asia by the Erst P aleoindian in h abitan ts o f the N e w W o rld . T h e sham anic im portance o f anim al transform ation and anim al spirits in M esoam erica suggests rem ote h u n te r and g ath erer origins from b efo re the developm ent o f agricu ltu re and food production. A lthough sham anism was probably p resent in M esoam erica w e ll befo re the appearance o f a g ricu ltu re and settled v illag e life , it can be Erst docum ented am ong the F o rm a tiv e O lm ecs. P e ter F u rst has called a tten tio n to a fascinating them e in O lm ec stone sculpture, a kneeling m an th a t becomes a JAGUAR - w h a t he term s transform ation figures. F u rst has suggested th a t these sculptures d ep ict the sham an being transform ed in to his a lte r ego, the ja g u a r. W hereas the b ear is fre q u e n tly the c reatu re o f p o w erfu l shamans and curers in N o rth A m erica, b elo w the T ro p ic o f C a n ­

A te rrify in g c re a tu re to hum ans, th e shark was d eified e a rly on in M eso am erican society. T h e O lm ecs had a shark god, c le a rly m arked by a shark tooth, and fossilized G re a t W h ite Shark tee th have been found a t O lm ec sites. A shark m ay v ery w e ll be the basis fo r the M a y a JESTER COD, v ery e a rly versions o f w hich have a d efin ed shark tooth, and th e shark tooth o f C l o f the PALENQUE TRIAD also indicates a relatio n ship w ith the shark. T h e A ztecs cached shark tee th in to the T em p lo M a y o r along w ith o th e r m a rin e m a te ria l. shell N obles in an cien t M exico and G u a te ­ m ala im p o rted sea shells to in la n d centers from both coasts through tra d e and trib u te . A t the tim e o f the C onquest, the A ztecs dem anded 1600 spondylus shells a y e a r in trib u te from coastal regions. T h e Aztecs deposited thou­ sands o f shells along w ith o th e r m a rin e and aqu atic m aterials, in clu d in g corals, snail shells, and skeletons o f SEA creatu res, in caches in th e T em p lo M a y o r. T h e conch shells in clu d ed in O ffe rin g 48, a deposit o f sacrificed c h ild ren , re fe rre d to the aquatic n atu re o f TLALOC, to w hom th e o fferin g was d edicated. G ia n t stone effigies o f conchs rested along the T la lo c side o f the T w in P yram id . A b alo n e shells, w h ich occur n a t­ u ra lly no fa rth e r south than th e coast o f B aja C a lifo rn ia , m ade th e ir w ay in to A zte c caches, giving us some sense o f the long-distance trad e th a t th e Aztecs m anaged. A t T ik a l, archaeologists found spondylus shells o f both A tla n tic and Pacific species,


153 and the pearls from such tho rn y oysters w e re w om as je w e lry by the M a y a e lite . M a n y spondylus shells w e re scraped to re ve al a b rig h t red or orange concavity; w h en thus carved, the shells w ere sew n onto cloaks, w orn as necklaces or w o rn a t the w aist. T h e MAIZE GOD, for exam ple, o fte n w ears such a shell a t the w aist, as do m any w om en who

SKY

Olmec portrayal of a shark, San Lorenzo Monument 58, Early Formative period.

w e ar the costum e, perhaps signifying fem ale fe rtility . A t C opan, an excavated cached spon足 dylus shell still held traces o f hum an BLOOD. Along w ith strings o f dots, a lte rn a tin g cuta足 ways and proHles o f spondylus shells w ere used by the M a y a to in d ic ate w a te r in th e ir representations. M a y a lords w o re oliva shells as noisem aking tinklers a t the w aist. In Post足 classic M a y a hieroglyphic w ritin g , a shell functions as the com pletion sign, probably in d icatin g th a t shells w e re used in counting out sums. Conch, spondylus, and pecten shells Hank the und ulatin g body o f QUETZALCOATL on the T em p le o f Q uetzalcoatl a t TEOTiHU AC AN. Since the v a rie ty and num ber o f shells increased d ra m atic ally a t T ik a l a fte r it cam e in contact w ith Teo tih u acan , the Teotihuacanos m ay have dom inated the shell trad e during the Classic period. A t C acaxtla, paintings o f shells, som etim es in h abited by creatures th a t never d w e lt in such shells, form aquatic borders around regal lords. T h e Olm ecs carved JADE into the shapes o f clam shells and then strung these large disks into necklaces. D u rin g the L a te F o rm ative period W est M e x 足 ican artists m ade clay Hgures o f musicians playing conch shell trum pets, a practice w e ll docum ented a t the tim e o f the Conquest. Some W est M exican nobles w ore conch shells on th e ir heads to signify high status. W orn around the neck as a pendant or chest ornam ent, a cross-sectioned slice of conch shell is one o f Q uetzalcoatl *s identifying characteristics. Dozens o f such pieces of conch have been found, p articularly in Veracruz. T h e M a y a God N (seescHELLHAScoDs) usually emerges from a shell, eith er a conch or a snail shell. T h e C entral M exican god Tepeyollotl, H e a rt of the M o u n tain , is often depicted w ith

Youth Hshing for marine shells, Tetitla, Teotihuacan, Classic period. Shells are widespread in the iconography of Teotihuacan

conch shells, w hich may be w h y the T em p lo M a y o r, conceived to be a symbolic MOUNTAIN, held so m any shells. skullrack see TZOMPANTLi sky U n lik e the realm s o f th e EARTH and UNDER WORLD, w h ich could be p en e trated by hum ans,

Tonacatecuhtli in the highest realm of the sky, Omeyocan, the place of duality; Codex Vaticanus A, 16th c. Aztec.


SKY BANOS

!M

the sky was a source o f m ystery, a super­ n a tu ra l re a lm e n tire ly d istin ct fro m th a t o f

sky band w ith the sam e o u tw a rd ly sloping diagonal bars and in v e rte d " U " elem ents as

hum an beings. T h e concept o f sacredness

those th a t a p p e ar on Stela I a t L a V en ta.

w as o fte n tie d to the d eg ree o f p ro xim ity to

C a rv e d som e 500 years a fte r L a V en ta

th e heavens. Thus sacred shrines and TEMPLES

Stela 1, th e A lv ara d o Stela is roughly contem ­

w e re

especially

poraneous w ith Iza p a , K am in alju y u and o th er

hig h p rom ontories, such as MOUNTAINS and

Protoclassic sites o f the M a y a region. A t

fre q u e n tly

placed

ato p

Iz a p a , sky bands also ap p ear w ith the p a ir o f

PYRAMIDS.

Since a t least the F o rm a tiv e O lm ec p erio d ,

o u tw a rd ly lean in g diagonal bands, although

specific signs d e lin e a te d the sky. In th e a rt

h ere the lo w e r in v e rte d " U " elem ents are

o f C lassic M eso am erica, d eities fre q u e n tly

missing. In s te a d , the lo w e r p ortion typ ically

em erge from the sky or heavens. A m ong the

contains a c en tral v e rtic a l tab Hanked by a

Zapotees, the m o tif know n as the "ja w s o f

p a ir o f o u tw a rd ly cu rlin g elem ents. Classic

the sky" is based on the jo in e d profiles o f the

M aya

e n tity know n as E / A v e de

by a segm ented band. W ith in the re g u larly

A ncho, the

sky bands a re

usually represented

Zapotee version o f the PRINCIPAL BIRD DEITY. In

spaced segm ents are signs d e lin e a tin g the

L a te Classic Z apotee a rt, figures descend fro m

S U N , M O O N , STARS,

these celestial ja w s . Ancestors and d eities are

phenom ena. A t tim es, the lo w e r p o rtio n o f

darkness, and o th e r celestial

fre q u e n tly depicted in the u pper portion o f

the sky band m ay be m arked w ith the b elly

Classic M a y a stelae, in the region correspond­ ing to the sky.

scutes o f the

SER P E NT.

T h is p ro b ab ly derives

from the fac t th a t the M a y a n w ords snake

was

and sky a re hom onym s. T h e sam e punning

believed to have d istinct levels, often cited

o f snake and sky m ay be seen in m any

as 13, p a rtic u la rly am ong the Classic and

instances o f the Classic M a y a C E R E M O N IA L BAR, w hich can a p p ear as a bicep h alic serpent

In

ancien t

M esoam erica,

the

sky

Postclassic M a y a . A sky sign w ith the coefficient o f 13 fre q u e n tly accom panies the MUAN owL in M a y a representations. T h e C o l­ onial A ztec V atican us A m anuscript provides us w ith a d eta ile d account o f the 13 levels o f the sky, w ith the creato r couple TONACATECUHTH and Tonacacihuat! residing in the highest level also know n as O m eyocan, "place o f d u a lity ." .See a/so SKY BANDS; SKYBEARERS. sky bands In southern M esoam erica, the sky was freq u e n tly rendered as a band m arked w ith diagonal and vertic al elem ents. T h e sky band first appears w ith the F o rm a tiv e O lm ecs, and continues in the M a y a region u n til the Spanish C onquest, a clear exam ple o f c o n tin u ity from the Olm ecs to the la te r M a y a . O ne o f the earlies t know n sky bands appears on P otrero N uevo M o n u m e n t 2, an E a rly F o rm a tiv e ALTAR-throne. Q u ite pro­ b ab ly, this O lm ec m onum ent was considered as a celestial THRONE, m uch lik e the sky band thrones o f the la te r Classic M a y a . Stela 1 fro m the M id d le F o rm a tiv e O lm ec site o f L a V e n ta displays a sky band in its upper portion. T h e band contains the same in v erted " U " elem ents w hich appear on the e a rlie r P otrero N uevo M o n u m e n t, although here they are topped by a p a ir o f o u tw ard ly lean in g diag­ onal bands. T h e A lvarad o S tela, a Protoclassic m onum ent w ritte n in the script o f the T u x tla S tatu e tte and L a M o ja rra Stela 1, contains a

w ith a sky band body. T h e segm ented sky band continues in M a y a a rt u n til the L a te Postclassic, and m ay be seen in the m urals o f T u lu m as w e ll as in the M a y a codices. á*ee a / s o SKY; SKYBEARERS.

sky bearers A ccording to Postclassic C e n tra l M exican b e lie f, p a rtic u la r gods had th e ro le o f sustaining the SKY. A ccording to th e F&yfona de /os m exicanos p o r sus p in furas, the heavens w e re raised by the fo u r sons o f the c reato r couple along w ith fo u r o th er gods. T o assist in this e ffo rt, QUETZALCOATL and TEZCATLIPOCA transform ed them selves in to tw o g re a t trees. In the Vaticanus B and B orgia codices, p a ra l­ le l passages illu s tra te fo u r skybearers, each o rien ted to a specific w o rld DIRECTION and YEARBEARER. In both codices th e fo u r gods, directions and y e a rb e a re r days ru n as follow s: TLAHUizcALPANTECUHTLi w ith th e east and A c a tl, x iu H T E C u H T L i w ith the n o rth and T e c p a t!, EHECATL-QUETZALCOATL w ith the w est and C a lli, and fin a lly , MiCTLANTECUHTLi w ith the south and T o c h tli. T h e C e n tra ! M exican skybearers w e re fa r fro m being e n tire ly benevolent. A ccording to Tezozom oc, the sky­ bearers w e re T z rrziM iM E , the fierce STAR dem ons o f darkness th a t th reaten ed to descend and destroy the w o rld d u rin g ECLIPSES and the NIGHT v ig il m arking the end o f the 5 2 -ye ar cycle.


155 T h e M ix te e form o f E h e ca tl-Q u e tzalc o atl, 9 W in d , was also regarded as a skybearer. Thus on page 47 o f the Codex Vindobonensis, 9 W in d supports the sky. H o w e v e r, in this instance, the SEA Elled w ith m arin e SHELLS is depicted lying above the sky. W h a t p a rtic u la r cosmic event this scene refers to is still unknow n. T h e ancient M a y a had h ig h ly developed concepts regarding the skybearers. According to D iego de L an d a, the Postclassic Yuca tec M a y a had fou r skybearers know n as the bacabs. As in C e n tra l M exico , each o f the four bacabs was associated w ith a p a rtic u la r

SMILING FIGURES

../?=a

'--- =3__cm .

d

yearb earer day as w e ll as directio n . In creas­ ing evidence suggests th a t the bacabs are identical to the aged q u a d rip a rtite d eity know n as PAUAHTUN. A lthough some have suggested that Pauahtun supported the EARTH ra th e r than the heavens, th e re a re explicit exam ples o f Pauahtun supporting celestial THRONES rendered w ith a seat in the form of a SKY BAND o r SERPENT.

In ancient M esoam erica, the skybearers w e re w id e ly id e n tifie d w ith the ofRce o f rulership. Tezozom oc m entions an A ztec term for the skybearers, "sustainers o f the cane m a t," w hich re fe r to the w oven cane MAT th a t sym bolized the seat o f kings. T h e concept o f skybearers supporting celestial thrones extends even as fa r back as the E a rly F o rm a­ tiv e O lm ec period. T w o DWARVES support a sky band on P otrero N uevo M o n u m en t 2. T h e role o f skybearers probably re late d to the M esoam erican concept o f public ofBce as an elevated burden or CARGO to be passed from one office-holder to another. sm iling Egures Sm iling faces characterize m any sm all, solid figurines as w e ll as larg er, h o llow -bodied ceram ic sculptures from Classic period V eracru z, and they have come to be know n by this distinctive facial expression. T ra d itio n a lly , such figures have been associated w ith the site o f Rem ojadas, from w hich large num bers are reputed to com e, b u t they have also been found at m any o th er sites, including N opiloa and D icha T u e rta . L ittle is know n about them archaeologically, b u t most com e from L a te Classic burials. Sm iling figures usually engage in pleasur­ able activities: m any DANCE, others m ake s till others hold o u t th e ir arm s in the o ran t or prayin g position. M o s t w e a r M u s ic ;

costumes o f ric h ly p a tte rn e d cotton CLOTH.

e Examples of sky bands, a, Potrero Nuevo Monument 2, Early Formative Olmec. A La Venta Stela 1, Middle Formative Olmec, c, Alvarado Stela, Late Formative, d, Izapa Stela 12, Protoclassic Maya, e, Sarcophagus lid of Pacal, Palenque, Late Classic Maya.


SNAKE

HM L iv e ly MONKEYS jo in hum ans, and a fe w o th e r

a re reg ard ed as the source o f WATER, including

an im als, such as DEER and RABBITS, a re associ­

even th e RAIN clouds. T h e re ce n tly discovered

a te d w ith the sm ilin g figurines, though fe w

O lm ec

o f the anim als sm ile. Som e o f th e anim als

y ie ld e d offerings o f carved w ood, JADE, RUBBER,

site

of El

M a n a tí,

V e ra cru z,

has

tu rn on w h e e le d fe e t, and such toys are th e

and o th e r goods th a t w e re placed in the

o n ly know n exam ples o f th e w h e e l in a n cien t

crystal c lea r w aters o f a n a tu ra l spring. T h e

M eso am erica.

m any CENOTES and w a te r-fille d CAVES o f Yuca­

T h e sheer d elig h t o f these figurines long

tán can be considered as form s o f springs, and

m ade them a focus fo r collectors w ho sought

have been places o f w o rsh ip fo r m ille n n ia . For

an a lte rn a tiv e to the ico nographically dense

ra in cerem onies, th e con tem po rary Yucatec

a rt o f the M a y a o r A ztecs. Some investigators

M a y a s till collect the sacred 'v irg in w a te r," or

have suggested th a t th e sm iling figures m ay

zu h u y ha, fro m isolated sub terran ean pools.

be in states o f ecstatic tran sfo rm atio n or

D u rin g the Tarascan fe s tiva l o f Sicuindiro,

perhaps d ru g -ind u ced trances; h o w e ve r, it is

th e BLOOD fro m

m ore lik e ly th a t m any o f the sm iling figures

p oured in to tw o hot springs ded icated to

rep resen t perform ers.

tw o sacrificed slaves was

C u e ra v a p e ri, the m o th e r o f the gods, and vapors rising from these h o t springs brought

snake see SERPENT

the ra in clouds. A m ong the Aztecs o f C e n tra l M ex ico , springs w e re fre q u e n tly id e n tifie d w ith the ahuehue% or " w a te r d ru m " tree

spider In ancient M eso am erica, spiders w e re com m only id e n tifie d w ith fem ale goddesses and the EARTH. A t TEOTiHUACAN, an im p o rtan t goddess id e n tifie d by a fanged nose b ar appears w ith spiders. It seems th a t this e n tity was considered to be a spider earth goddess, much lik e Spider G ran d m o th er o f the contem ­ p o rary A m erican Southw est. ixcHEL, the aged Postclassic Yucatec goddess o f DiviNATioN, m id w ife ry and cuRiNC, was also idenüE ed w ith the spider. D iv in a tio n stones re fe rre d to as spiders played an im p o rtan t p a rt in the cerem onies dedicated to Ixchel d u rin g the m onth o f Z ip . In the C o lo n ial A fu a / o í the Bacahs, Ixchel is m entioned p ro m in e n tly in a p ra ye r concerning venom ous spiders. In Classic and Postclassic M a y a iconogra­ phy, the old Pauahtun SKYBEARER can appear w earin g a spider's w eb . T h is correlated w ith C e n tra l M exican conceptions o f the skybearers, w ho threaten ed to descend to the earth in the form o f dem onic T zrrziM iM E . Because o f th e ir headlong descent, th e ¿z/&únúne w e re com pared to the spider descending by its thread . O n an A ztec stone copy o f the jMuhmo/pi7h y ear BUNDLE, a tz itz im it/ star dem on is depicted descending from the starry sky as a spider, com plete w ith a w eb placed a t the tip o f the abdom en. A lthough by no m eans a n a tu ra l tra it, the curious p a ir o f antennae is found w ith o th er A ztec spider representations.

springs F ro m the F o rm a tiv e period to con­ tem p o rary tim es, springs have been places o f religious w orship. In m any religions, springs

(TTarodiuin m ucronaiM /n). A ccording to F ra y D ieg o D u rá n , these g re a t trees alw ays g re w a t springs. S till today, p ilg rim s collect spring w a te r fro m the roots o f a g re a t a h u e h u e t/ tree on the outskirts o f C h alm a. stars

and

planets

A n c ie n t

skyw atchers

keenly observed th e m ovem ents o f a ll h eav­ e n ly bodies in M eso am erica th a t could be observed w ith th e naked eye, in clu d in g the M e rc u ry , VENUS, M a rs , Jup iter, and Saturn. T h e y observed the MILKY WAY, perceived groups o f stars to fo rm constel­ lations, and M a y a astronom ers - lik e th e ir counterparts in the an cien t O ld W o rld - m ay have recognized a zodiac along th e eclip tic. Glass, and, by extension, lenses, w e re n ever in ven ted in the N e w W o rld ; astronom ers used pairs o f crossed sticks and observed featu res on th e horizon through the notches. T h e anom alous round b u ild in g called the C aracol ("s n a il") a t C h ich en Itz á p ro b ab ly functioned as an observatory, its n arro w w in ­ dows a t th e upperm ost story guid in g observa­ tions o f the m ovem ents o f Venus. O n e M ix te e city was know n as N d is i nuu (n o w T laxiaco ), or "c le a rly seen"; it was th e site o f a p ro m i­ nen t observatory. M o u n d J, one o f the oldest buildings a t M o n te A lb a n , p ro b ab ly acted as an observatory fo r the rising o f the star C a p e lla , w hich m ay have been understood to guide the sun on the day o f the Erst zen ith passage a t the la titu d e o f M o n te A lb án . (Z e n ith passage occurs w h en the sun passes d ire c tly overhead, a phenom enon w hich occurs tw ic e an n u ally a t the E q u ato r, on the SUN, MOON,


157 equinoxes, once an n u ally a t the T ro p ic o f Cancer and the T ro p ic o f C ap rico rn , a t th e ir respective sum m er solstices, and tw ice ann u ­ ally in b etw een , ranging according to la ti­ tude.) A lthough n e ith e r the Erst nor last astron­ omers in M esoam erica, th e Classic M a y a becam e the most s k illfu l skyw atchers w e know of. R ecent investigations in to Classic texts have revealed a high le v e l o f sophistic­ ation in M a y a observations, p a rtic u la rly o f planets. T h e M a y a v iew ed the M ilk y W a y as the road to X ib a lb a and saw in the seasonal m ovem ents o f constellations along the ecliptic th e ir fun d am en tal CREATION story. T h e y tim ed events o f w a r and SACRIFICE to coincide w ith the m ovem ents o f Venus and Jup iter. A ccord­ ing to his inscriptions, C h an B ahlum , a la te 7th c. P alenque king, not only live d by the m ovem ents o f Jupiter, b u t the m ajor events o f his life dovetailed w ith the m ovem ents o f th a t p la n et deep in the past. stela M esoam erican peoples erected p ris­ m atic stone slabs called stelas or stelae to celeb rate the reigns and ritu a l passages o f the ru lin g e lite , and usually o f the suprem e ru le r h im self. T h e im petus to erect stelae Erst cam e in the M id d le F o rm a tiv e am ong the O lm ec, w hen other efforts to record history also developed. Stelae a t L a V e n ta depict historical rulers a ttire d in re g alia th a t sym bol­ ized and reinforced the oiRce and p o w er o f an e a rly king. T h e custom o f erecting stelae subsequently took root in the Isth m ian region during the L a te F o rm a tiv e and Protoclassic, p a rt o f the constellation o f traditions characterizing east­ ern M esoam erica. A t C h iap a de C orzo and Tres Zapotes, M esoam ericans began to inscribe long count dates (CALENDAR) on stelae, Exing them in tim e. A t A b aj T a k a lik and Iza p a , altars w ere p aired w ith stelae, a p a t­ tern th a t continued a t most Classic M a y a sites. Iza p a stelae featu re m ythical scenes and g en erally lack dates; the A baj T a k a lik m onum ents depict rulers in E a rly Classic M a y a poses, and the hum an Egures are accom panied by dates and long texts. Classic M a y a stelae h ear texts th a t reveal some ancient perceptions o f the m onum ents. F o llo w in g the katu n ending d ate , the glyphs on Stela 9 a t L am an ai can be read dzapah fe ¿un or The setting o f the stone tr e e /' as recently deciphered by D av id Stuart and N iko ­ lai G rube. These stelae, then, w e re in d ivid u al

STELA (AgAf) Spider descending from the starry sky as a iz/tzKcut/; note the web at the tip of its abdomen. Detail from a stone copy of a year bundle, Late Postclassic Aztec.

(Be/ow) Stela D, Quiriguá, Late Classic Maya.


t!M

STÍHLÍNC HYPOTHESIS trees; as tim e passed and dozens o f m onu­

M o relo s, d ep ictin g tw o jaguars c lim b in g atop

m ents clustered on a c en tral p laza th ey fo r­

and a ttackin g hum an victim s, w ith no in d i­ cation o f any sexual act. See a/so JAGUAR com ;

m ed w h a t L in d a Scheie and D a v id F re id e l have called a "fo re s t o f kings."

OLMEC CODS.

T h e C lassic b u ild ers o f C h o lu la in C e n tra l M exico adopted the custom o f e rec tin g stelae and ALTARS, although no fig u ra tiv e carved

sun A ltho u g h the sun was u n doubtedly w o r­ shipped fro m rem o te a n tiq u ity , the first clear

im ag ery survives; a t Xochicalco and T u la ,

rep resen tatio n o f it appears am ong the P roto­

b efo re AD 900, ru lin g lords adopted the prac­

classic M a y a in th e fo rm o f the fou r-p eta led

tice o f e rectin g stelae w ith th e ir p o rtraits . In Y ucatan, stelae w e re erected throughout the

elem e n t com m only re fe rre d to as the Ain sign, Am being the M a y a n term fo r "su n " or "d a y. "

Postclassic, b u t the im ag ery sh ifted , the d yn ­

A t th e Protoclassic site o f C erros, B elize, the

astic ru le r g ivin g w ay to representations o f

Ain sign appears on the cheek o f a b lu n t­

th e setting o f th e sup ern atu ral lords o f the

snouted m ask, p ro b ab ly to id e n tify this e n tity

katu n , re flec tin g a changed society m ore

as th e solar JAGUAR. T h e Ain glyph continued

concerned

w ith

the collective

com m unity

to serve as the M a y a solar sign u n til the

than the single a ll-p o w e rfu l ru le r.

Spanish C onquest.

S tirlin g H ypothesis In 1955, the noted O lm ec

re a d ily id e n tifie d u n til the T e rm in a l Classic

In highland M exico , solar signs cannot be archaeologist M a tth e w S tirlin g suggested th a t

p erio d . In this case, the sun is in d icated by

m any

a disk w ith

"wKRHjACUAn"

figures

app earin g

in

O lm ec a rt d erived from an ancient O lm ec origin m yth in w hich a JACUAR copulated w ith w om an. Thus the O lm ecs m ay have considered them selves as "peo p le o f the ja g u a r," a union o f ja g u a r and hum an. H o w ­ ever a ttra c tiv e or in trig u in g this concept m ay be, there is little m a te ria l evidence fo r such a creation m yth am ong the O lm ecs. S tirlin g based his theory on tw o badly dam aged E a rly F o rm a tiv e O lm ec m onum ents from the region o f San Lorenzo, T en o ch titlan M o n u m e n t 1 and P otrero N uevo M o n u m e n t 3. According to Stirlin g , T en o ch titlan M o n u m e n t 1 represents an anthropom orphized ja g u ar copulating w ith a supine w om an. H o w ev er, on close inspection, it can be seen th a t the up p er figure displays no ja g u a r a ttrib u tes b u t is fu lly hum an. M o reo v er, the figure appears to be in b a llp la y e r garb, m uch lik e the contem porane­ ous b a llp la y e r figurines from Las Bocas. A ltho u g h it is possible th a t the lo w e r Rgure is a w om an, the ankles a re crossed and bound. In stead o f representing a m yth ical copulation, this m onum ent m ay d ep ict the S A C R IF IC E o f a C A P T I V E in association w ith the B A L L G A M E . T h e o th er sculpture, Potrero N uevo M o n u m e n t 3, c le a rly displays a ram p an t ja g u ar over a hum an. U n fo rtu n a te ly , the m onum ent is too dam aged to provide any in d icatio n o f the gen­ d er o f e ith e r figure or to d eterm in e w h e th e r copulation is in ten d ed. I t is q u ite possible th a t th e m onum ent depicts a ja g u a r attacking a hapless hum an. In them e, the sculpture is not­ ably sim ilar to an O lm ec-style re lie f fro m the M id d le F o rm a tiv e site o f C halcatzingo,

ra d ia tin g

tria n g u la r elem ents

representing solar rays. O n e o f the e arlies t occurrences o f the rayed solar disk appears on the abdom en o f a standing ja g u a r on the T e rm in a l Classic N evad o de T o lu ca S tela. T h e rayed solar disk is especially com m on in the a rt and w ritin g o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico . In m any instances, the disk bears the d ate 4 O llin , the nam e o f the p resent sun created a t TEOTIHUACAN. In an cien t M eso am erica, solar gods tend to be yo u th fu l m ales, consistent w ith th e vigor and p o w er o f th e rising sun. In the M a y a region, th e sun was also id e n tifie d w ith the m ost p o w e rfu l c rea tu re o f th e forest, the JAGUAR. T h e N evad o de T o lu ca S tela suggests th a t th e ja g u a r w as also considered a solar c reatu re in C e n tra l M exico d u rin g the T e r­ m in al Classic p eriod. In th e A ztec m yth o f the creation o f th e fifth and p resen t sun, both the ja g u a r and the EAGLE w e re born out o f the solar p yre a t T eo tih u ac an . In L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M ex ico , th e sun was p e rsonihed by the y o u th fu l TO N A TiuH , w ho tends to be p o rtrayed w ith red skin, golden h a ir and a p ro m in en t rayed solar disk. .See aVso CREATION ACCOUNTS; DAWN; FIVE SUNS; SCHELLHAS GODS.

sun god see KiNiCH AHAU sw eatbath T h e sw eatb ath served th e ancient M esoam erican com m unity as a place o f CURING, rest, and m ain ten an ce o f h ealth . T ra d itio n a l n ative com m unities today often construct sweathouses and continue to use


159

SWEATBATH

them as places o f healing. In M esoam erica, rituals o f healing w e re religious rites, in w hich app ro p riate gods w e re invoked. T h e process of re tre atin g to the sw eatbath offered seclu­ sion from society, in its e lf a p u rify in g act, b u t the trea tm en t by m oist h ea t was seen as a pinnacle o f P U R IF IC A T IO N . W h en a person em erged from a sw eatbath, th a t person was as if "re b o rn " from the w om b o f the E A R T H . A ncient M esoam erican sw eatbaths have been found near the ritu a l precincts o f cities, as w e ll as in dom estic sectors. A t th e M a y a city o f Piedras N egras, a t least eig h t elab o r­ a te, m asonry sw eatbaths served the core o f the city, some d ire ctly adjacen t to the king's palace and TE M P L E S . U n lik e sim pler contem ­ porary exam ples, each o f these Piedras N egras sw eatbaths was encompassed w ith in a la rg er structure, perhaps a place o f additional ritu a l, b u t also, surely, fo r the

Stirling Hypothesis: Potrero Nuevo Monument 3, a sculpture purportedly showing the copulation between a jaguar and a woman, Early Formative Olmec.

m undane needs o f privacy and dressing. To increase the tem p eratu re w ith in the bath itse lf, the steam cham ber was a sm all, lo w , vau lted room w ith in the la rg e r structure, w ith room for tw o benches and a firebox. As in most ancient sw eatbaths, the Piedras Negras exam ples included fireboxes lin e d w ith broken p o ttery for repeated heatings. WATER w ould have been throw n on this firebox to release clouds o f steam in to the cham ber, and a channel led outside to carry aw ay the w a te r. T h e recognition o f sw eatbaths a t Piedras N egras led to fu rth e r such identifications in o th er M esoam erican cities, b u t a t no other place have they been found in such abund­ ance or on such a scale. As the ethnohistoric record makes clear, how ever, the sw eatbath was a standard fea tu re o f M esoam erican cities, and m any o f the m odern, ethnographically docum ented exam ples are sm all and w ould be m ore d ifficu lt to recognize in an archaeological context. Know n in C en tra! M exico as the fem asca/, the sw eatbath was dedicated to the god T E Z C A T L iP O C A , according to the gloss o f the Codex M ag liab ech iano , b u t the p ictu re o f the

Tonatiuh, the Centra! Mexican sun god, Codex Borgia, p. 23, Late Postclassic period.

same m anuscript shows the fro n ta l face o f the goddess TLAZOLTEOTL over the doorw ay, and m ost sw eatbaths w e re probably d ed i­ cated to h er or to Toci, a re late d fem ale goddess. T la z o lteo tl was the A ztec goddess know n by the e p ith e t " e a te r o f filth ," and she w as the one to w hom

C O N FESSIO NS

w e re

m ade, so she is the m ost a p p ro p riate d eity for the dedication o f the p u rify in g sw eatbath.

The fema^ca/, or sweatbath, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec.


TAMOANCHAN T h e C odex M a g liab ec h ia n o also inform s us th a t

w h en any sick person w e n t to the b ath

house, [th a t sick person] o # e re d incense, w hich th ey caü copa/, to th e id o l and covered

160 in illu stratio n s fo r the iRBcm** o f 1 C a lli. T h e goddess p residing over this frecen# is rrzpAPALOTL, one o f th e p rin c ip al ¿zt&r/m/fne dem ons.

the body in black in ven eratio n o f th e ido! th ey c a ll T ezc ate p o c atl [T e zc a tlip o c a ], w ho

T e c p a tl see

C A L E N D A R ; F L IN T ; YEARBEARERS

is one o f th e ir m ajo r gods." T h e s w eatb ath was especially im p o rta n t to

tem a la ca tl A ccording to various accounts, in

m idw ives and th e ir p atie n ts , p reg n an t or

o rd er to h u m ilia te the d efe ated Tepanecs and

recen t!y d e liv e re d w om en, fo r w hom T la z o l-

to reen act th e ir dem ise in a p ublic forum ,

teot! was also patroness. Sahagún cites the

M otecuhzom a.1 in v en ted a sort o f g la d ia to ria l SACRIFICE subsequently used to cele b rate gen­

form a! speech o f a m id w ife , w ho addresses h e rs e lf to the parents o f a p re g n a n t w om an:

erations o f A ztec victo ries. In these contests,

he speciBes Y o a!ticit! as th e m o ther o f the

an A zte c w a rrio r tied a hapless prisoner to a

gods, w ith dom inion over sw eatbaths, know n

sacriBcia! stone called

in some cases as xocÍMca/Zi, or B ow er houses.

forced h im to engage in com bat u n til DEATH

the fe m a /a c a f/ and

O nce inside the sw eatb ath , a tten d in g PRIESTS

or d e fe a t. These round stones w e re p e rfo r­

and priestesses (o r the supphcants th e m ­

ated by a hole a t the c en ter, and a rope ran

selves) struck the bodies o f the supphcants

from the CAPnvE s leg and through the stone,

w ith various grasses, herbs, and sticks, but

handicapping the v ictim . In such g la d ia to ria l

p regnant w om en w e re som etim es excused

com bat, the victorious w a rrio r usually donned

from such rigors. A fte r a BIRTH, a w om an

the a ttire o f a JAGUAR kn ig h t w h ile the d efe ated one w o re a fe a th e r costum e; the victorious

rep aired to the sw eatbath for massage by the m id w ife , probab!y to h elp shrink the uterus. R ecently d elive re d highland M a y a w om en and th e ir m idw ives in G u a te m ala s till fre ­ q u en t the sw eatbath.

w a rrio r arm ed h im s e lf w ith a m a c u a /iu /f/, or club w ith em bedded OBSIDIAN blades dis­ guised by feath ers w h ile the d e fe ated one w ield e d a club w ith only feath ers. D esp ite such odds, the cap tive tied to th e fe m a /a c a f/

Tam oanchan In L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , Tam oanchan was considered a m y th ­ ical and paradisiacal place o f origin. A t Tam oanchan, the gods fashioned the present race o f hum ans from p e n ite n tia l B LO O D and ground hum an bones stolen from the U N D E R ­ W O R L D (see C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ). T h e F lo re n ­ tin e Codex relates th a t P U L Q U E was also disco­ vered a t Tam oanchan. In the F lo re n tin e C odex account, Tam oanchan appears to be placed in the g eneral G u lf Coast region o f the H uastec M a y a . In fa c t, the term Tam oanchan is a M a y a n w o rd , and could be paraphrased as "p lace o f the m isty sky," an a p p ro p riate description o f th e hum id G u lf Coast. In the C e n tra l M exican codices, T am oan ­ chan is represented by a B ow ering c le ft tre e e m ittin g blood. T h e signiBcance o f this toponym is u n certain , although it m ay re la te to the A ztec origin legend o f M A Y A H U E L , in w hich TzrrziMiME dem ons tore a p a rt th e tree containing M a y a h u e l and Q U E T Z A L C O A T L . In th e codices, Tam oanchan com m only appears

occasionally succeeded a t b ea tin g o ff his enem y, and perhaps several o f them in succession. In some cases, the cap tive im m e d i­ a te ly achieved his lib e rty ; in others he was nonetheless sacriBced. In s till others, the v a lia n t c ap tive then faced a le ft-h a n d e d w a rrio r, w ho was alm ost c e rta in to slash and d e fe a t his enem y. L arg e crowds observed such g la d ia to ria l com bat w ith in th e sacred p recin ct o f T en o ch titla n , adjacen t to the TzoMPANTLi o r skullrack, and n ear xiPE T O T E c 's tem p le Yopico, w hence the d efeated captives w e re rem oved fo r sacriBce by H E A R T extrusion. tem p le T h e Spanish w o rd "te m p lo " and English " te m p le " have com e to re fe r to w h a t th e A ztecs called a feo ca/ii, o r lite ra lly god house, and g en e rally in d ic ate a place o f w orship. Thro u gh o u t M eso am erica, PRIESTS and supplicants re p a ire d to tem ples to com ­ m unicate w ith th e ir CODS, to m ake offerings to th e gods in exchange fo r d iv in e in te r­ ven tio n , and to m ake them selves one w ith the gods. In th e ir sacred p recin ct, the Aztecs constructed 78 d iffe re n t structures, most o f them tem ples dedicated to p a rtic u la r gods or cults. (O th e r buildings included p riestly


161

TEOTIHUACAN

residences and schools.) T h e ifu e fe o c a /h (G re a t T em p le or T em p!o M a y o r) re fe rre d specihcally to the g re at d u al PYRAMID d e d i足 cated to H U iT z iL O P O C H T L i and T L A L O c . T h e T e m 足 plo M a y o r precinct, lik e those throughout M esoam erica, was the h e a rt o f the c ity , and it was roughly a t the cen ter o f T e n o c h titla n . To show conquest, the Aztecs d epicted the failin g , burning tem p ie o f th e ir foes; they often hauled the sculptures o f enem y gods back to T en o c h titla n , w h e re they kep t them in a separate tem p le o f cap tive deities. In d i足 vidual tem ples w ith in the precinct m ay have been thought to encapsulate the m ountain homes o f various deities. Research a t the T lalo c side o f the dual p yram id has shown th a t the Aztecs created the m anm ade

The Aztec sign for Tamoanchan, Codex Vaticanus A, 16th c.

(Re/ow) Gladiatorial sacrifice: an Aztec warrior attacks a prisoner tethered to the temalacatl, or sacrificial stone, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec.

em bodim ent o f Tlaloc's m ountain through offerings and deposits. Am ong M esoam erican cities know n only archaeologically, the w ord tem p le has often been app lied w ith o u t specific know ledge o f any religious practices th a t m ay have taken place there. W h a t have been term ed M a y a tem ples" and "palaces," fo r exam ple, seem to grade in to one another, and in recent years, archaeologists have p re fe rre d to give structures n eu tral num bers ra th e r than nick足 nam es lik e "T e m p le o f the G ia n t Jaguar." N evertheless, M a y a tem ples can gen erally be id e n tifie d : a tem ple has a high p latfo rm topped by sm all cham bers; access is lim ite d and is usually by a single staircase, although a fe w exam ples have o th er arrangem ents. M o st such tem ples w ere constructed a t the death o f a king to enshrine his TOMB, as for exam ple, a t T ik a l, although occasionally, as at Palenque, such a tem p le was constructed beforehand, leaving access to a sarcophagal cham ber. A lthough clearly associated w ith specific deities, these M a y a tem ples p rim a rily com m em orated royal ancestors and the gods w ith w hom the kings w ere united in death. .S e e a / y o MOUNTAINS.

Tem plo M a y o r F e e TEMPLE Teodhuacan T h e Aztecs b elieved in serial creations, th a t the suN and the population o f the EARTH had been g enerated five tim es, w ith the c u rren t sun and hum ankind having been m ade in the fifth and last creation. T his final creation o f the fifth sun took place a t T eotihuacan. A lthough a re al place, w h ere high c iv iliza tio n in C e n tra l M exico th rive d in the first m illen n iu m

AD,

it was also a place

(Re/ow) The double temple: the Templo Mayor at Tenochtitlan, with its two shrines dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli; Codex Ixtlilxochitl, 16th c. Aztec.


T H O T iH U A C A N C O D S

tea

o f the im a g in atio n , the locus o f religious

larg e tee th . Paaztory Id e n tifie d tw o form s

g en eratio n , w h e re the Aztecs b eliev ed the

o f T la lo c. O n e fo rm , T la lo c A , displays a p ro m in en t set o f JAGUAR canines; q u ite fre ­ q u e n tly , a WATER ULY is placed in the m outh. T h e o th e r aspect, T la lo c B , has a sei o f

gods had conjoined to c re a te the fifth sun. A ccording to som e accounts, T eo tih u ac an was also the b irth p la c e o f th e gods them selves. A ccording to the F lo re n tin e C odex, d u rin g

id e n tic a lly sized conical tee th and a p ro m in en t

the

b ifu rc a te d tongue, m uch lik e the pendulous tongue o f cocqo, th e Zapotee god o f rain and lig h tn in g .

long

p ereg rin a tio n

from

AZTLAN

th a t

e v e n tu a lly le d to T e n o c h titla n , th e Aztecs w e n t from TAMOAKCHAN to T e o tih u ac an , w h e re they m ade offerings and b u ilt PYRAMIDS o ver

G re a t G oddess. A ltho u g h this term is w id e ly

the bu rials o f ru lers, thus g iving them life everlastin g .

used in re ce n t lite ra tu re , it p ro b ab ly sub­ sumes a n u m b er o f d istin ct goddesses. O ne

In 1971, archaeologists found the opening

fem a le e n tity c u rre n tly placed in this category

to a CAVE u n d er the P yram id o f th e Sun a t

w ears a fanged nose b ar. D u e to the a p p e ar­

T eo tih u acan . Archaeologists found th a t this

ance o f SPIDERS w ith this fig u re, she has been

cave extended fa r b eneath the P yram id o f the

term ed the T eo tih u acan S pider W om an. Yet a n o th er T eo tih u ac an goddess appears w ith a

Sun, w ith sm all a n c illa ry cham bers ra d ia tin g from the centra! passagew ay. C eram ic e v i­

stepped facia! p a tte rn in g around the m outh

dence indicates th a t the cave was in use from

and lo w e r cheeks. T h e significance o f this

Protoclassic u n til A ztec tim es, and it m ay w e ll have been an ancien t site o f w orship

goddess is s till unknow n. N e tte d /a g u a r. T h is po o rly understood e n tity

hallo w ed by the construction o f the g re at

is a jACUAR covered w ith in te rla c e d cords,

pyram id above it. T h e Aztecs claim ed to have com e from a place called cmcoMOZTOc, or

resem bling a n et. T h is n e t p a tte rn in g is also found on T eo tih u acan representations o f

Seven Caves: perhaps this sacred place lay

MiRRons, and it is possible th a t lik e the Post­

under the ground at T eo tih u acan . In any case, the Aztecs c ertain ly considered the abandoned city sacred: they carried out ritu ­ als th e re , brought pieces o f its sculpture and

classic TEZCATLiPOCA, th e N e tte d Jaguar re p ­ resents a personification o f the stone m irro r,

p ain tin g back to T en o c h titla n , and m ade it the site o f royal PILGRIMAGE. See a/so CREATION A C C O U N T S ; F IV E SUNS.

fft/e /m e te o t/; T h e aged FIRE god o f the h e a rth , H u eh u ete o tl com m only appears a t T e o ti­ huacan in the fo rm o f a stone efEgy censer. C eram ic H u e h u e te o tl censers can be traced back to Protoclassic C u icu ilco , and th e re are still e a rlie r M id d le F o rm a tiv e exam ples from

T eotihuacan gods In the com plex and poorly know n iconography o f T eo tih u acan , a series o f characters th a t appear to p o rtray d istinct deities occur tim e and tim e again. A lthough certain o f these gods can be re ad ily id e n tifie d as ancestral form s o f deities know n am ong the L a te Postclassic Aztecs, other figures app ear to be unique to Teotihuacan. In con­ trast to the Classic M a y a , fem a le d ivin ities have a p ro m in en t position. In this respect, T eo tih u acan is sim ilar to L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exican relig io n , w hich also has a g re at m any goddesses. TTaVoc. U n til recen tly, m any d istinct T e o ti­ huacan gods w e re confused w ith T la lo c, the C e n tra l M exican god o f RAIN and LiGHTNiNC. A ltho u g h Alfonso Caso and L a u re tte Séjourné both m ade progress in d eterm in in g T lalo c's characteristics, E sther Pasztory first successfully isolated and defined the T e o ti­ huacan T lalo c from other gods. A t Teotihuacan, T la lo c ty p ic a lly appears w ith goggle eyes and a p ro m in en t u pper lip containing a set o f

T laxcala. Q u e & a /c o a f/. O n e o f the e a rlie s t appearances o f the plu m ed SERPENT a t T eo tih u ac an occurs upon the o rig in al facade o f the T e m p le o f Q u etzalco atl. H e re fe a th e re d serpents pass through fe a th e re d m irro r rim s and sw im in a S H E LL-filled SEA. A t T eo tih u ac an , th e fe a th e re d serpent is usually dep icted w ith symbols o f ra in and standing WATER. T h e T eo tih u acan plum ed serpent is ty p ic a lly rep resen ted w ith a c an in e -like m uzzle and a ra ttlesn ake body covered w ith the green plum es o f th e QUETZAL. A lthough anthropom orphic form s o f Q u e tza lcoat! are v irtu a lly unknow n a t T eo tih u acan , th e p lum ed serpent can ap p ear upon a w oven MAT, a w idespread

sym bol o f ru lersh ip in M esoam erica. I t is thus possible th a t as in Postclassic M eo sam erica, the T eo tih u acan Q u etzalco atl was identiR ed w ith an im p o rtan t office o f ru lersh ip. W a r S e rp en t. O n the T e m p le o f Q u etzalcoatl, the p ro jectin g fe a th e red serpent heads a lte r­ nate w ith another being freq u e n tly m isidenü-


163

TERMINATION RITUALS

iBed as T lalo c. R ath er than T la lo c , this form depicts a mosaic headdress in the form o f a serpent head. A lthough p ro b ab ly o rig in atin g a t T eotihuacan, this serpent being is also com m only found in Classic M a y a a rt. E ith e r as a headdress or as a com plete serpent, it occurs in the context o f w a r. F re q u e n tly appearing w ith smoke or Barnes, the WAR SERPENT is probably an ancestral form o f the x iu H C O A T L Bre serpent o f Postclassic C e n tra l M exico.

T!a!oc A

P u/gue Cocf. Since the tim e o f the Spanish C onquest, Teotihuacan has been a fam ed center for the production o f P U L Q U E . A lthough ra re, th e re are exam ples o f a Teotihuacan pulque d eity . This being appears w ith a sim ple m ask, possibly o f the p a p e r-lik e MAGUEY skin. U n d ern eath the mask, in the region o f the eyes and m outh, it m ay be seen th a t the face is blackened. In one instance, the head is surrounded by pointed m aguey leaves spouting w h ite pulque. In another exam ple, the pulque spills from the m outh o f the god. F a t Cocf. A com m on d eity o f Classic M esoam erica, the F A T G O D often appears on m old-m ade Teotihuacan Bgurines. In v a ri­ ably, the h eavily lid d ed eyes are shut, as if the Bgure is dead. In a num ber o f instances, the F a t God appears w ith the sign o f the REPTILE EYE or a FLOWER upon his forehead. See

a /S 0

F A T C O D ; H U E H U E T E O T L ; P U L Q U E CODS;

QUETZALCO ATL; TLALO C .

term in atio n ritu als W h en M esoam erican peoples cam e to the end o f th e ir use o f a b u ild in g or even o f a period o f tim e, they engaged in w h a t anthropologists have called term in atio n ritu als, in w hich they ritu a lly " k ille d " certain m a te ria l m anifestations. T h e defacing o f O lm ec sculpture m ay be am ong the earliest indications o f this practice. An arm y o f w orkers ground dow n the colossal heads and tab le-to p A LTA R S, leaving system atic round pits; in some cases the e ffo rt o f destruc­ tion equaled th a t o f the o rig in al creation. T h e y then bu ried the defaced m onum ents w ith layers o f specially p repared sand and stone. T h e Olm ecs m ay have thought that through such efforts they n eu tralized the p o w er in h e ren t in such rep resen tatio n al sculpture. W h e re v e r the oversized masks o f the Protoclassic perio d are uncovered, w h e th e r a t E l M ira d o r or C erros, there is

Putque God

evidence th a t the faces suffered active dam ­ age before being covered. D u rin g the reign o f R u ler A , T ik a l M a y a lords sm ashed the

Classic period Teotihuacan gods.


TEXTILES

!64

base o f S tela 31, cached the u p p er p a rt o f the

o f ea rth and w in d , or by extension, m a tte r and

m onum ent in

tog eth er w ith

s p irit. H o w e v e r, T ezcatlip o ca encompasses

b u rn t offerings, and then b u ilt a new super­

m ore than the e a rth . A ccording to the Fhyren-

stru ctu re. T h e

S tru ctu re

33

subject o f S tela

31,

K in g

tin e C odex, T ezc atlip o c a is om nipresent, and

Storm y Sky, m ay w e ll be th e in te rre d subject

causes discord and conflict e v e ryw h e re he

o f the tom b below S tru ctu re 33, and this

passes. N onetheless, the sam e passage also

destruction o f his stela w as q u ite possibly

describes h im as a c reato r as w e ll as destroyer,

p a rt o f a te rm in a tio n ritu a l in w h ich th e last

a b rin g e r o f fo rtu n e as w e ll as disaster. In

vestige o f his presence was rem oved from

C e n tra ! M exican

v ie w . A t L a g a rte ro , Susanna Ekholm

un­

o n ly b attles against b u t also assists Q u e tza l­

cerem o n ial

coatl in th e Creation o f the w o rld and its

covered

m iddens

o f sm ashed

b eliefs, T ezcatlip o ca not

p o ttery fre e o f any household debris, and

in h ab itan ts. M o re than anyth in g , T e z c a tli­

despite the presence o f vast q u an tities o f

poca appears to be the e m b od im en t o f change

fig u rin e

through conflict.

bodies, no m atching heads w e re

found. In a ll like lih o o d , such a deposit w as

In v ie w o f his o m nipresent and v o la tile

m ade as a term in atio n ritu a l, perhaps to m ark

n a tu re , it is not surprising th a t Tezcatlipo ca

the com pletion o f a period o f tim e.

was re fe rre d

B efore the d rillin g o f the last N e w F ire

to by m any epith ets. D oris

H ey d en has counted an astonishing 360 dis­

(see FiRK) b efo re the Spanish C onquest, the

tin ct phrases fo r h im in Book 6 o f the F lo re n ­

Aztecs carried out a term in atio n ritu a l: a ll the

tin e C odex. A m ong them a re df/acuaA uan,

old pots w e re sm ashed, a ll fires extinguished,

"h e

and pregnant w om en hidden from v ie w in

e n e m y ," y o u a //i ehecaf/, "n ig h t w in d ," and

whose

slaves

we

a re ,"

y a c í/,

"th e

o rd er to start the m undane w orld an ew once

/M u lcah u a í/a7í7qpaque, "possessor o f the sky

the N e w F ire was kindled in the open chest o f a slain CAiTivn.

and e a rth ." T h e first c lea r representations o f T e z c a tli­

t e x t i l e s s e e CLOTH; COTTON

poca ap p e ar on T o lte c -s ty le stone sculptures from E a rly Postclassic C hichen Itz á . L ik e

T czcatlipoca O n e o f the m ore fascinating gods o f Postclassic C en tra! M exico, T e zc a tlipoca was the o m in ip o ten t god o f rulers, sorcerers and w arrio rs. T h e nam e o f this being signifies "sm oking m irro r," and is a term rich in sym bolic m eaning. F o r one, MIRRORS o f OBSIDIAN and o th er stone w ere w id e ly used in necrom ancy and sorcery in ancien t M esoam erica. H o w e v e r, in the early 17th c. chants recorded by R uiz de A larcón, the surface o f the EARTH its e lf is re fe rre d to as a sm oking m irro r. In the m yth o f the FIVE SUNS, T ezcatlipo ca presided over the SUN o f earth . According to th e H is to ria d e Aw m ex­ icanos p o r sus p m furas, a b a ttle raged betw een the god o f this first sun, the sun o f e a rth , and QUETZALCOATL, the god o f the follo w in g sun o f WATER. Thus the first sun ended w h en Q uetzalcoat! struck Tezcatlipoca dow n, turnin g h im in to a JAGUAR. In tu rn , Tezcatlipo ca term in ated the sun o f WIND by knocking over Q u etzalcoatl. This cosmic b a t­ tle b etw een T ezcatlipo ca and Q u etzalcoatl is also reflected in the legends o f TOLLAN, in w hich T ezcatlipo ca eve n tu ally bests Q u e tza l­ coatl through a series o f ruses. T h e conflict b etw een Tezcatlipo ca and Q u etzalco atl could be v iew ed in term s o f a d u alistic opposition

la te r im ages o f this being, he displays a sm oking m irro r upon his head and a SERPENT foot. D u rin g the L a te Postclassic p erio d , T e z ­ catlipoca m ay ap p e ar w ith a serp ent foot, although in this case the serp ent usually appears em erging from the sm oking m irro r th a t ty p ic ally replaces his foot. T h e m irro r or serpent foo t p ro b ab ly alludes to the creation m yth in w hich T ezcatlip o ca loses his foot w h ile b attlin g w ith the e a rth m onster. A side from the sm oking obsidian m irrors m arking his head and foot, the L a te Postclassic T e zc a t­ lipoca tends to have broad a lte rn a tin g bands o f y ello w and black across th e face. T h e nocturnal JAGUAR, th e m ost p o w e rfu l a n im al o f M esoam erica, was th e a n im al c o u n terp a rt o f T ezcatlipo ca. T e p e y o llo tl, or H e a rt o f the M o u n ta in , was a ja g u a r aspect o f T e zc a tli­ poca. I t is thus e n tire ly fittin g th a t T e z c a tli­ poca was p atro n o f the TRECENA 1 O celo tl. A n o m nipotent god o f fa te and p u n itiv e ju stice, he often m erges in to iTZTLACO LiUH Q ui-ixQ uiM iL U , the b lin d fo ld ed god o f stone and casti­ gation. In this com posite form , T ezcatlipo ca appears as th e black god o f the n o rth , and patron o f the day A ca tl. M ic h a e l C oe firs t noted a series o f striking correspondences b etw e en T ezcatlipo ca and the ancien t M a y a d e ity com m only know n as


165

THRONE

God K (see scHELLHAS GODS). L ik e T ezcatlip o ca, God K has a serpent foot and usuaHy displays a smoking m irro r on his head. In a d d itio n , both Tezcatlipoca and G od K are closely tied into the suprem e oiRce o f ru lersh ip. Nonetheless, despite these d ire c t and im portant p arallels, these gods a re not e n tire ly equ ivalen t. W hereas the ja g u a r con­ stitutes the fau n al c o u n terp art o f T e z c a tli­ poca, G od K c learly has serpentine c h aracter­ istics. In add itio n , the lig h tn in g and

The smoking mirror of Tezcatlipoca, Aztec stone sculpture, Late Postclassic period.

(Be/ow) Tezcatlipoca with the twenty trecena periods, Codex Fejérváry-Mayer, Late Postclassic period.

agricu ltu ral com ponent o f God K is not re ad ily evid en t in the attrib u te s o f T ezcatlipo ca. See a / s o C R E A T IO N A C C O U N TS .

throne M esoam erican lords ru le d from elev ­ ated seats o f pow er, or w h a t w e call thrones, from around 1200 BC u n til the tran sfer o f pow er to the Spanish conquerors. T h e socalled "ta b le -to p a lta rs " o f the Olm ecs are probably the oldest p erm an ent thrones th a t survive in M esoam erica, and they are am ong the largest ever m ade. A huge stone from K am in aljuyu depicts some o f the early M a y a o f the G u atem ala highlands presiding from sm all thrones du rin g the Protoclassic. CAPTIVES kneel befo re the enthroned rulers, each o f w hom bears w h a t m ay be a nam e glyph in his headdress, and the sequence m ay record a series o f rulers or a genealogical chart. D u rin g the L a te Classic, w edge-legged thrones predom inated in the w estern M a y a region, p a rtic u la rly a t Palenque, Yaxchilán, and Piedras N egras, w h ere artists carved thrones w ith elaborate reliefs. T h e rich ly orna­ m ented throne, installed by Pacal in House E o f the P alenque Palace in the 7th c., was replaced by a la rg er version in an extension o f the Palace a t the beginning o f the 8th c. Both sculpture and p ain tin g in d icate th a t M a y a thrones w ere often p ain ted , p a rtic u la rly in b rig h t red and g re en ; ru lin g lords draped them w ith ja g u a r pelts and reclined against ja g u a rcovered cushions. According to the F lo re n tin e Codex, rulers sat on several d iffe re n t types o f pelts, including pum a, JAG UA R , w o lf, coyote, and various cured leathers w ith p ain ted designs. T h e A ztec T em p le Stone, long called the M on u m en t o f Sacred W a r, has been recog­ nized as the official throne com m issioned by M otecuhzom a I I to com m em orate the N e w F ire cerem ony o f 1507. A flig h t o f stairs leads up to the seat o f the thron e, inscribed w ith the im age o f

T L A L T E C U H T L i,

the A ztec

EARTH

(Be/ow) The Aztec Temple Stone, in fact the throne of Motecuhzoma II, 16th c.


rLAHUIZCALPAKTECLHTH

166

m onster; w h a t w o u ld be a tem p le cham b er

c u h tli is c le a rly id e n tifie d w ith th e plum ed

form s the backrest, and it featu res th e rayed

serp ent, o r pucrzALcoATL. T h e C o lo n ial A na/e.*

d iad em o f th e sux. W h e n the th ro n e was

d e C uaúA & dan states th a t a fte r being burned

occupied by th e TLATOANi, o r ru le r, his ro le in

upon th e fu n e ra l p y re , Q u e tza lc o a tl was reborn as T la h u izc a lp a n te c u h tli. T h e god o f

sustaining the e a rth and places was e xp lic it. G ods,

too,

reig n ed

SUN

in th e ir p ro p er

the m o rn in g star was also closely id e n tifie d fro m

thrones,

and

w ith the star god MixcoATL, and in a num ber

am ong th e M a y a , the h ie rarc h y am ong c er­

o f instances appears w ith th e fac ial m arkings

ta in d eities is p a rtic u la rly n o tab le.

IT Z A M N A ,

o f M ix c o a tl, a field o f black surrounded by

fo r e xam p le, o fte n receives th e appeals o f

w h ite spots den o tin g stars. H o w e v e r, the

In one strikin g e xam p le, G od L

typ ical star m arkings o f T la h u izc a lp a n te c u h tli

(see scHELLHASCODs), w ho o ften presides fro m

a re Eve w h ite spots upon the nose, b ro w ,

a thron e h im self, appears h u m b ly b efo re C od

cheeks, and chin. T la h u izc a lp a n te c u h tli appears as one o f the fo u r sxYBEARERs, in

o th e r gods.

C , the sun god, a fte r losing his ritu a l a ttire to a RABBrr. A ltho u g h M ix te e lords o ften sit

this case the skybearer corresponding to the

or squat on MATS to sym bolize th e ir a u th o rity ,

eastern YEARBEARER A c a tl.

M ix te e gods and oracles m ay o lfe r counsel from elev ated seats. A ztec figurines o fte n

T la lo c T h e C e n tra ! M ex ica n god o f RAIN and

o f sm all TEMPLES th a t are

LiCHTNiNC, T la lo c first appears on ceram ic

probably thrones for the gods seated on them .

vases from T lap acoya th a t d ate to the 1st

take

the

form

In the 260-day io n a/am ai/s (see CALENDAR) o f

c. BC and p o rtra y T la lo c w ith

L a te

lig h tn in g bolts. T la lo c is one o f the m ost com m on deities a t TEOTinuACAN and often

Postclassic

C en tra!

M exican

m anu­

scripts, enthroned gods reign over in d iv id u al TRECENAS, and

iconographic d etails o f the

thrones them selves often reveal aspects o f the d iv in atio n .

serp entin e

appears w ith lig h tn in g , MAIZE, and WATER. L ik e Postclassic exam ples, th e T eo tih u acan T la lo c typ ic ally has goggled eyes and larg e, ja g u a r tee th . In contrast to the M a y a CHAC, T la lo c is

T la h u izca lp an tec u h tli In C e n tra l M exico, the god o f the m orning STAR was know n as T la h u izca lp an tec u h tli, m eaning Lord o f the D aw n . T lah u izca lp an tec u h tli represented an especially fierce and dangerous aspect o f V E N U S . According to M esoam erican b e lie f, the rays o f the m orning star at heliacal rising could in flic t g reat dam age upon p a rtic u la r classes o f people as w e ll as on M A IZ E and W A T E R . In the B orgia, Cospi, and Vaticanus B codices, Venus tables p re d ict the days and victim s o f the heliacal appearance o f the m orning star. In these pages and o th er scenes, T la h u izca lp an tec u h tli hurls his b a lefu l rays in the form o f a t/-a t/ darts (see W E A P O N R Y ). In the L eyen d a de /os so/es, T la h u izca lp an te ­ cu h tli hurls a d a rt a t the n ew ly created suN a t T E O T in u A C A N . In response, the sun god transfixes T lah u izca lp an tec u h tli, transfor­ m ing h im in to IT Z T L A C O L IU H Q U I-IX Q U IM IL L I, the god o f coldness, stone, and castigation. T h e first clear representations o f T la h u iz­ calp an tecu h tli appear d u rin g the E a rly Post­ classic p eriod. T h e T o ltec-style rock p ain tin g a t Ixtapantongo bears an eroded b u t id e n tifi­ a b le representation o f the skull-faced T la h u iz­ calp an tecu h tli w ith a plum ed SERPENT m arked w ith star signs. A t Ixtapantongo and C hichen Itz á , the E a rly Postclassic T la h u izca lp an te-

c le a rly p a rt JAGUAR, and it is possible th a t the rum blings o f th u n d er w e re com pared to the bellow s o f the ja g u a r. In Postclassic M exico , T la lo c was b elieved to reside in m ountain CAV E S . These caves w e re considered to be m iraculous treasu re houses Riled w ith w e a lth and pro sp erity. T o the Aztecs, T la lo c w as know n as " th e p ro v id e r," and depending on the rains, could be e ith e r generous or m iserly. O n e o f the d u al T E M P L E S upon the T em p lo M a y o r o f T e n o c h titla n was d edicated to T la lo c , and this side o f th e P Y R A M ID w as a p p a re n tly considered as his M O U N T A IN abode. Excavations in the fou n d a­ tions o f this tem p le have re ve ale d rich o ffe r­ ings, m any o f w hich a re re la te d to w a te r and the SEA. N e a r T e n o c h titla n , th e re was a special m ountain tem p le d ed icated to T la lo c. Located on th e peak o f M o u n t T la lo c, some 13,500' (c. 4100 m ) above sea le v e l, it housed a shrine containing stone im ages o f M o u n t T la lo c and o th er neighboring h ills and m oun­ tains. P atro n o f the day M a z a tl and th e TRECENA o f 1 Q u ia h u id , T la lo c also presided over the th ird sun o r w o rld , 4 Q u ia h u itl, the sun o f ra in destroyed by a Rery deluge. T la lo c and his consort CHALCHiUHTLicuE governed th e T la lo q u e, lite ra lly the " T la -


167

TLALTECUHTLI

io c s /' w ho w e re recognized to be the m u ltip le spirits o f m ountains and p o w e rfu l w e a th e r phenom ena. See a/so cocijo; FIVE SUNS; ucHT N IN C A N D T H U N D E R ; M O U N T A IN S ; R A IN ; T E O T IH U A C A N GODS.

Tlalocan N ahu atl-speald ng C e n tra l M e x i­ cans a t the tim e o f the C onquest called the fourth le ve l o f the heavens or u pper w o rld

The Central Mexican god of the morning star, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, Codex TellerianoRemensis, 16th c. Aztec. In this scene, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is named 1 Reed, the calendrical name of Quetzalcoatl.

Tlalocan, m eaning the place o f T L A L O C . Because it was in the heavens, T lalo can is often thought o f as T lalo c's paradise. Accord­ ing to the Vaticanus A codex, those who drow n or d ie from o th er aspects o f W A T E R , such as Roods and the strikin g o f L I G H T N IN G , go d ire ctly to T lalo can , as do the deform ed D W ARVES, cripples, and so fo rth - th a t are the special charges o f T la lo c. T h e F lo re n tin e Codex notes th a t T lalo can is v erd a n t, a place o f endless spring, abounding in green and yello w plants: M A IZ E , chilis, squash, A M A R A N T H , tom atoes, beans, and m arigolds. Tlaloc's TEM PLE was also know n as the T lalo can . A lthough the Classic perio d p ain tin g at T e p a n titla has been called the T lalo can , the w a te ry lan d o f abundance th a t it depicts is probably not an illu stratio n o f this la te r concept. T la lte c u h tli T la lte c u h tli lite ra lly means "e a rth lo r d /' b u t most A ztec representations c learly d ep ict this creatu re as fem ale, and despite the m ale gender o f the nam e, some sources call T la lte c u h tli a goddess. U sually in a Aoc/rer, or b irth -g iv in g squat, w ith head Rung backw ards and h er m outh o f FLINT blades open, T la lte c u h tli m enaces h um anity and dem ands constant appeasem ent. T la lte cuh tli's im age is usually carved on the bottom o f A ztec sculptures, w h ere it m akes contact w ith the E A R T H . This im age on the base o f m onum ents m ay m erge w ith aspects o f TLALOC and M iC T L A N T E C U H T H . O n the Stone o f Tízoc, T la lte c u h tli is conRgured by the openm outhed fro n ta l face and m arkings o f CAIMAN skin, the surface o f the earth . According to the Tf/sfoyre tfu m dchigue, Q U E T Z A L C O A T L and T E Z C A T L iP O C A carried T la lte ­ c u h tli dow n from the heavens and turned

The Central Mexican god, Tlaloc, Codex Laud, p. 2, Late Postclassic period.

them selves in to g reat SERPENTS. O n e grasped the rig h t hand and le ft foot and the o th er took the le ft hand and rig h t foot; they squeezed T la lte c u h tli u n til th e y had re n t h e r body asunder. A fte r th ey had taken one h a lf aw ay to the SKY, o th er gods descended to the earth to console h er, and from

the

rem aining,

The earth monster Tlaltecuhtli, Aztec sculpture, Late Postclassic period.


TLATOANI

KM

vio late d h a lf o f h er body th ey fo rm ed the surface o f th e e a rth , m aking o f h e r h a ir ' trees and Sow ers and grasses, o f h e r skin . . . Row ­

goddess o f PUMiricATiow and cuwmc, p a rtic u ­ la rly o f diseases caused by sexual m isdeeds or excess. A ccording to F ra y D iego D u rá n ,

ers, o f h er eyes w ells and fou n tains and little caverns, o f h e r nose valleys and m ountains,

p e n ite n t in d ivid u als w o u ld p erfo rm (xw FESsiON and B LO O DLETTING in fro n t o f an im age

and o f h e r shoulders m ountains. A n d this

o f T la zo lte o tl. As an in d icatio n o f h er clean­

goddess cried m any tim es in th e n ig h t d esiring

sing ro le , she is com m only depicted w ith a

th e hearts o f m en to eat. A n d she w o u ld not

grass broom . In th e codices, she can be re ad ily

be q u ie t ju s t w ith . . . fru it unless it was

id e n tifie d by a black zone around h er m outh

sprin kled w ith the blood o f m e n ."

and spools o f

M id w ives exh o rted T la lte c u h tli to com e to

COTTON

in h e r headdress. She

appears to d e riv e from th e G u lf C oast and

th e ir aid w hen an in fa n t w a rrio r th rea te n ed

m ay have o rig in a lly been a H u astec goddess.

to k ill th e m o ther d u rin g a d ifE c u it lab o r.

T la zo lte o tl is p atro n o f th e day O c elo tl and

A long w ith p reparatio n s fo r w a r, prayers to

th e

TRECENA

I O llin .

T ezc atlip o c a o ften invoked T la lte c u h tli as the toad A m p h ib ians o f the genus B ufo, toads

SUN.

A ltho u g h rep resen ted in the sculpture o f

p layed an im p o rta n t and e a rly ro le in the

M a y a p a n , T la lte c u h tli cannot be located in

religious sym bolism o f an c ie n t M eso am erica.

C lassic M a y a a rt, and h e r origins rem ain

D ep ictio n s o f toads first ap p e ar in F o rm a tiv e

obscure.

O lm ec a rt, and it is lik e ly th a t m any o f the

tlato an i W ith th e ir rise to pow er in the V a lle y o f M exico in the 15th c., the Aztecs replaced

species, B u /b m ar/m M , a g ia n t toad th a t produces a p o w e rfu l HALLUCINOGEN know n as

" W E R E -J A C U A R "

figures a re a c tu a lly toads. O n e

ad m in istra tive

b u fo ten in e through glands a t the back o f the

arran g em en t o f four lineage heads w ith the position o f f/afo an /, a ru le r w ho was in turn advised by a four-m an council, including

head, w as o f special im p o rtan ce. S tela 6 from the Protoclassic site o f Iza p a p o rtrays a seated

th e ir

tra d itio n a l

trib a l

the cmuACOATL. L ite ra lly m eaning "h e w ho speaks" in N a h u a tl, the i/afo am was the suprem e A ztec ru le r in p o litical affairs, and som etim es in religious ones as w e ll. A lthough in theory a n ew f/afo an i could be selected or elected by the council from one o f hundreds o f m ale nobles, in p ractice the n ew ru le r was alw ays b ro th e r, son, or grandson o f a previous t/afo an /. F o r exam ple, a t the tim e o f the C onquest, the B atoani M otecuhzom a 11, know n also as M otecuhzom a Xocoyotzin, was the grandson o f M otecuhzom a i, the longest reigning A ztec ru le r. T h e Aztecs trea te d the t%afoam as a d ivin e being, and the p ublic ra re ly saw th e ir sovereign. Perhaps because a d iv in e being d id not reveal m undane bodily functions, the i^aíoain a te in solitude, a carp et protected his fe e t from touching the soil o f the EARTH w h e rev er he w alked , and o th er hum ans d id not touch h im in public, a taboo vio lated w hen the Spaniard C ortés reached out to em brace M otecuhzom a a t th e ir Rrst m eeting. See a/so ACC ESSIO N. T la zo lte o tl As a C e n tra l M exican goddess o f p u rific atio n , T la zo lte o tl was also id e n tifie d w ith filth , or f/azo/A. In N a h u a tl, the term t/azoBi can re fe r to both vices and DISEASES. As th e goddess o f t/azeB i, T la zo lte o tl was a

toad w ith the p itte d p a ra to id gland p ro m i­ n en tly displayed. T h e scrolls s w irlin g fro m this area p ro b ab ly re fe r to b u fo ten in e exuded from the gland. A t Iz a p a , K a m in a lju y u , and o th er Protoclassic M a y a sites, toads com ­ m only ap p ear in the fo rm o f m assive A LTA R S . These toad -altars a re usually p laced in fro n t o f S T E L A E , and constitute an e a rly com ponent o f the M a y a s te la -a lta r com plex. A m ong the Classic M a y a , th e toad serves as the zoom orphic form o f th e 2 0-d ay u ln a / period o f the Long C o u n t. Q u ite p ro b ab ly, this derives fro m the fa c t th a t toads, lik e people, possess 20 digits. Thus in Yucatec M a y a n , w hereas the nam e fo r th e 2 0-d ay p erio d is tuna/, th e te rm fo r person is u/nic. In re ce n tly discovered E a rly Classic stucco reliefs fro m B alam kú, C am peche, th e re a re full-R g u re toads w ith u p w a rd ly facing heads. Seated lords are positioned in th e ir m ouths, as i f th e toads w e re m eta p h o rica lly giving B IR T H to th e kings. In Classic M a y a a rt, th ere is a clear iconographic o verlap b etw e en toads and JAG UARS, as if toads w e re considered the g re at predators o f th e ir d im in u tiv e w o rld. Thus fo r exam ple, a th ree-sp o tted circu lar elem e n t p ro b ab ly re fe rrin g to th e parotoid gland o f the toad can substitute fo r a ja g u a r e ar in representations o f th e p atro n god o f Pax. In th e M a y a -s ty le m urals fro m the Red


169

TO CI

Tem ple a t C acaxtla, a toad displays th e blackspotted yello w coloration o f the ja g u ar. tobacco Tobacco (M co R an a sp.), one o f the most im p o rtan t ritu a l plants o f ancien t M esoam erica, was consum ed in tw o p rin c ip al ways, e ith e r chew ed w ith p ow dered lim e or smoked. In m any regions o f M esoam erica, dried tobacco was ground and m ixed w ith lim e to increase the stim ulatin g effects o f nicotine. T h e discovery o f lim e -E lle d pits in the cen ter o f T ie rra s Largas phase public buildings a t San Jose M o g o te, O axaca, suggests th a t the practice o f chew ing tobacco w ith lim e m ay have been present d uring the E a rly F o rm ative period. D u rin g the Post­ classic period, b o ttle gourds fille d w ith tobacco and lim e served as insignia fo r PRIESTS. T h e tobacco was chew ed to re lie ve fatig u e d uring long vigils and o th er cerem onies and possibly to induce visions as w e ll. T h e H u ich o l, T z e lta l M a y a , and o th er contem por­ a ry peoples o f M esoam erica continue to carry ground tobacco in b o ttle gourd containers. Am ong the ancient M a y a , cigars seem to have been the p re fe rre d m eans o f consum ing tobacco. In fact, P ierre V e n tu r has noted th a t our w ord cigar derives from the highland M a y a n siAar, signifying cigar or tobacco. Classic and Postclassic M a y a a rt contains abundant scenes o f actual people and gods sm oking cigars. O n e d eity in p artic u la r, the aged God L (see S C H E LLH A S c o D s ) , is com m only shown sm oking a large cigar. Am ong the Postclassic Tarascans o f M ichoacán, tobacco was usually smoked in long-stem m ed ceram ic pipes. E lbow -shaped pipes seem to have been the p re fe rre d means o f sm oking tobacco over much o f Postclassic W est M exico. According to M e n d ie ta , the Aztecs consid­ ered tobacco to be the em bodim ent o f ciHUA coATL, an aspect o f iLAMATECUHTLi, the great goddess o f the M ILK Y WAY. In the early 17th c. treatise o f R uiz de A larcón, tobacco was said to have been born o f the S tar-S kirted O ne, th a t is, the M ilk y W ay. T o ch tli

MOTECUHZOMA t 1440-1469

The Aztec king or tlatoani, Motecuhzoma I (Motecuhzoma Ihuilcamina), with his grandson Motecuhzoma II (Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin), Codex Mendoza, 16th c.

The goddess Tlazolteotl, detail from a Huastec conch shell pectoral, Postclassic Veracruz.

Seated toad, Izapa Stela 6, Protoclassic Maya. The curls emanating from its shoulder probably refer to poisons exuded from the parotoid glands of particular toad species.

s e e C A L E N D A R ; M A Y A H U E L ; R A B B IT; YEAR-

BEARERS

Toci A form o f the aged g en etrix, T oci, O u r G ran d m o th er, was a m ajor A ztec goddess. Am ong h er o th er epithets w e re T e te o In n a n , or M o th e r o f the Cods, and T la lli lyo llo , m eaning H e a rt o f the E a rth . A n

EARTH

god­

dess, T o ci was a patroness o f m id w ives and

MOTECUHZOMA t! 1502-1520

Tobacco: God L smoking a cigar, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase.


curers, and was closely id e n tifie d w ith the

and le g itim ac y fro m T o lla n and the Toltecs

fem ases/,

W h o w e re th e To ltecs, and w h e re exactly w as T o llan ?

or

swEATBATH.

A ccording

to

Sahagun, T o ci w as a!so term e d T e m a zc a lte c i, or G ra n d m o th e r o f th e S w eatbaths. She w as d e a rly re la te d to

TLAZOLTEOTL,

and fre q u e n tly

A ccording to th e A ztecs, these Toltecs w e re h eld to be th e inventors o f a ll a rtis try , from

displayed th e sam e b lack fa c ia l m arkings and

wRmNC to g o ld w o rkin g to m ed icine, and the

coTTO\ spool headdress. T h e m a jo r fe s tiva l o f

v ery w o rd " to lte c " m e an t a rtis t or craftsm an.

T o ci was the h arvest rite p erfo rm e d d u rin g

T h e y liv e d in u n p a ra lle le d m ajesty, reigned

the VEINTENA o f O c h p a n iztli.

o ver by QUETZALCOATL, w h o d w e lt in a palace o f

A long w ith being a goddess o f th e e a rth

fo u r b u ild in g s ,o rie n te d to the fo u r DIRECTIONS,

and ccRtNc, T o ci was id e n tifie d w ith w a r,

one o rn am en ted w ith sheets o f COLD, ano th er

and was also c alled th e W o m an o f D iscord.

w ith JADE and TURQUOISE, a n o th er o f SHELLS and

A ccording to A zte c legend, w h ile serving

silv er, and a last one em bedded w ith red

as m ercenaries fo r the C u lh u a , the A ztecs

shells and precious stones. In

received a d au g h ter o f the ru le r o f C u lh u acan .

th e re was abundance; the QUETZAL fle w and

this T o lla n

A lthough the ru le r in ten d ed his d au g h ter to

the b lu e cotinga d azzled . T h e

m a rry an im p o rta n t A ztec, HurrziLOPOCHTLi

C odex places T o lla n along the banks o f the

F lo re n tin e

in stru cted th a t the m aiden be sacrificed and

X ico c o titla n , and acknow ledges th a t this is

flayed to becom e T o ci. E nraged by this b ru ta l act, the ru le r o f C ulhuacan banished the

can be dug fro m

Aztecs. Forced onto Lake Texcoco, th ey dis­

Aztecs d id in d eed sack the cities o f th e ir

covered and founded th e ir capita! o f Tenochtitla n .

predecessors, especially T u la , H id alg o , and

the place w h e re T o lte c treasures and pots th e e a rth . In

fact, the

they h au led the booty back to T e n o c h titla n , b u t the description o f tropica! birds and a

T o h i! Patron d e ity o f the Q u ich e a t the tim e o f the Spanish C onquest, T o h il is a p rin cip al

paradisiacal abundance sounds less lik e a place in the C e n tra l M e x ic a n highlands and

god nam ed in the POPOLvun and guides the lineages a t the beginning o f th e ir p ereg rin a­ tions. H e is the d e ity w ho dem ands BLOOD offerings from his people, and so they sacrifice to him both th e ir ow n blood and the blood o f CAPTiVEs o f w a r. In the P opo/ MuA, T o h il insists on the rig h t to suckle from his people, m eaning to d rin k not m ilk from the breast, b u t blood: to be suckled by T o h il is to have one's HEART rip p ed out. T h e Q uiche estab­ lished his p rin c ip al TEMPLE a t U ta tla n , th e ir cap ital, and brought offerings to h im on the day ToA, one o f the 20 days and corresponding to the Yucatec day M u lu c . T o h il means OBSiDiAN, is cognate w ith T a h il in o th er M a y a n languages, and probably can be id e n tifie d w ith the Classic G od K (see SCHELLHAS GODs).

m ore lik e TAMOANCHAN, a m yth ical place usu­ a lly thought to be dow n in th e tro pical lo w ­ lands, perhaps even in the M a y a area . In the POPOL vuH, the Q u ich é M a y a te l! o f a jo u rn e y to the east, to T u la n , and th e ir T o lla n m ay w e ll have m ean t C h ich eo Itz á o r perhaps one o f the g re a t trad in g ports along the G u lf Coast. T h e id ea o f T o lla n m ay w e ll d a te to the rise o f the historical Toltecs in M eso am erica, w ho, around th e yea r AD 900, con tro lled tra d ­ ing netw orks extending fro m th e A m erica n Southw est dow n in to C e n tra ! A m erica. T h e tw o largest cities o f th e T o lte c n etw o rk w e re T u la , H id a lg o , and C h ich en Itz á ; C h o lu la also th riv e d in th a t era. B y A ztec tim es, the g reat cities o f the past and th e ir achievem ents m ay w e ll have been conflated in to a single concept o f a glorious past, tro p ica l abundance, and in ven tio n , w ith T o lla n m ore an id ea than a single place.

T o lla n T h e Aztecs and m ost o th er C e n tra l M exican peoples b elieved th a t th e re had once been a m ore glorious era, w hen the Toltecs had reig n ed a t T o lla n , or T u la , as it is also called . B u t the nam e T o lla n can also sim ply m ean "place o f rushes" and, as such, was the term a pp lied to any g re at city. A t the tim e o f th e C onquest, T en o c h titla n its e lf was a T o lla n , and the archaeological sites o f both T E O T iH U A C A N and T u la , H id alg o , w e re Tollans. A ll across M esoam erica, from the Chichim ecs to the M a y a , noble lineages claim ed descent

tom bs Some M esoam erican nobles w e re in te rre d in tom bs upon th e ir DEATH, w h ile others w e re w rap p ed in to BUNDLES w ith layers o f CLOTH and then b u rn t or in te rre d , or both, depending on the customs o f the c u ltu re. In C e n tra l M exico , fo r exam ple, the noble dead w e re w rap p ed in to m um m y bundles. M a n y o f the g re at TEOTiHUACAN masks w e re probably


171

TOMBS

once sewn onto such bundles and then in te r­ red. T h e Aztecs crem ated th e ir dead, and then in te rre d the ashes, although victim s o f death by drow ning w e re b u rie d . T h e Codex M agliabechiano illu strates the m um m y b u n ­ dle o f a MERCHANT accom panied by th e tokens o f his w e alth - JAGUAR p e lt, COLD, and valu ab le beads - w ith w hich his ashes w o u ld be in terred in case he chose to take up his profession in the UNDERWORLD. But

throughout

m ost

of

the

rest

of

M esoam erica, in W est M exico , in O axaca, along the G u lf Coast, and in the M a y a lands, nobles and ro yalty began th e ir jo u rn e y in to the ArrERUFE once th e ir bodies had been placed in tom bs. T h e stone sarcophagus Brst appeared at L a V e n ta , in O lm ec tim es, w ith in a tom b fram ed by basalt colum ns. T h e m ost extrao rd in ary sarcophagus know n belongs to Pacal a t Palenque and is carved on sides and top w ith the im ages o f Pacal's descent into the U n d erw o rld and his reception by his forebears. Pacal's sarcophagus lies inside a tom b deep w ith in the T em p le o f Inscriptions, reached only by an in te rio r, secret staircase.

Two nobles seated before the sign for Tollan, or 'place of rushes." The central mountain marked by a snake refers to Coatepec, the birthplace of Huitzilopocbtli; Manuscrit Tovar, 16th c. Aztec.

T h e im agery o f the M a y a tom b som etim es suggested the en try into the U n d e rw o rld b u t a t o th er tim es the foundation o f a MOUNTAIN. A rtists p ainted the fine m asonry tom bs a t Rio A zu l and elsew here d uring the E a rly Classic period w ith symbols o f transition from this w o rld to another, fre q u e n tly w ith symbols o f WATER and BLOOD. L ik e the la te r A ztec m erchants, M a y a nobles took w ith them the things they w ould need in ano th er w o rld. A K am in alju yu lord was in te rre d w ith the tools for w orking ja d e ; a Copán lineage head was accom panied by the m aterials a PRIEST or scribe w ould need. A t U axactún, srnaü TEMPLES w e re erected over the burials o f E a rly Classic rulers in C ro u p A ; during the L ate Classic, the same build in g com plex received sim pler burials o f w om en and c hild ren . W hen R u ler A o f T ik a l died in AD 725, a tom b was dug in to the bedrock o f the G re a t Plaza, and over his m ortal rem ains, his successors raised up T e m p le I, p erm an ently enshrining the king. M a n y M a y a PYRAMIDS, then , w e re great tom b structures. A t M o n te A lb an , the Zapotees b u ried th e ir noble dead in tombs a t the centers o f th e ir patios, in underground cham bers reached by a single Bight o f stairs. N iches fo r offerings in te rru p t rich paintings o f p arad in g d eities; perhaps if the offerings suiRced, the in te rre d

Tomb of the Late Classic Maya king, Pacal, in the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque.


TONACATECUHTLi

172

noble m ade an easy tran s itio n . T h e Zapotees

¿ona/A sou! o f an in fa n t was sent from the

a t M it!a b u i!t cru cifo rm tom bs u n d er th e ir

highest heaven o f O m eyocan, th e Place o f

palaces. D u rin g the L a te Postciassic, w hen

D u a lity . T h is sou! was in extricab ly tied in to

th e M ixtees h eld g re a te r p o litic a l a u th o rity

th e &Mia%x?huaM CALENDAR o f 260 days. Q u ite

in O axaca, they w e n t to an c ie n t M o n te A lb a n ,

fre q u e n tly , the ¿ona/// corresponded to the

e m p tie d som e o f th e Z ap o tee tom bs, and

day o f b irth , w ith this p a rtic u la r d ay becom ing

b u rie d

th e ir ow n

noble dead

in

th e old

tom bs to g e th e r w ith ab u n d a n t n e w offerings, including

the

largest

single

deposit

th e personal nam e o f an in d iv id u a l. See a/yo NAMES AND TITLES; TONACATECUHTLI; UAY.

of

M esoam erican gold discovered in its Prehis-

T o n a tiu h T h e sun god o f Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , TonaKiuh ty p ic a lly appears w ith red

panic context this century. In W est M ex ico , in the 1st m ille n n iu m Be,

body p a in t, an EAGLE fe a th e r headdress, and

the peoples o f C o lim a , Jalisco, and N a y a rit

a larg e rayed solar disk. H e is first found in

dug shaft tom bs in to the bedrock, lik e th e ir

E a rly Postclassic To! tec a rt from lx tapan tongo

contem poraries

and C h ich en Itz á . T h e T o lte c T o n a tiu h is

in

E cuador, a fa c t w hich

raises questions abo u t contact b etw e en N o rth

fre q u e n tly p a ired w ith QUETZALCOATL in his

and South A m erica . F re q u e n tly m u ltic h am -

aspect as the m orning star. A t C hichen Itz á

b ered , these shaft tom bs received the in te r­

and Ixtap an to n g o , the costum e o f T o n atiu h

m ents o f a fa m ily or lineag e, and have y ield e d

seems to be based on th a t o f a M a y a king.

the m ost d ra m atic W est M exican figures. T h e

In term s o f C e n tra l M ex ica n cosm ography,

liv in g m arked the surrounding surface area

the id en tih e atio n o f T o n a tiu h w ith the M a y a

above the shaft tombs w ith stones, possibly

is a p t, since he is the god o f the east, th a t is,

to d em arcate a place o f in terfa ce b etw een the livin g and the dead. See a/so DEATH.

CALENDAR, he serves as the p atro n o f th e day

the region o f the M a y a . In th e L a te Postclassic Q u ia h u itl. In the TRECENA o f 1 M iq u iz tli, or

T o n acatccu h tli Lord

of

O ur

Sustenance,

T o n acatecu h tli was a C e n tra l M exican form o f the aged creato r god. A ccording to the Vaticanus A codex, this d e ity and his consort, To n acacih u atl, resided in the 13th and u p p er­ most heaven, O m eyocan. From O m eyocan, the creato r gods sent dow n the souls o f infants to be born. T o n acatecu h tli is id e n tifie d w ith the m iracle o f p rocreation, and in a num ber o f scenes appears w ith copulating hum an couples. As a god o f creations and beginnings, it is a p p ro p riate th a t he is p atron o f C ip a c tli, the first o f the 20 days, and the TRECENA 1 C ip a c tli, the first o f the 20 irecenas. tonal In contem porary ethnographic lite ra ­ tu re , th e term ¿onaf is fre q u e n tly used in contrast to N A H U A L . W hereas nah n af g en erally signifies a form -changer, fre q u e n tly in the form o f an an im al, ¿ona/ is used to re fe r to a s p irit-fa m ilia r or soul. Am ong contem porary M esoam erican peoples, the ¿ona/is gen erally synonymous w ith the concept o f the "sh ad o w " s p irit o f an in d iv id u al. Am ong a num ber o f M esoam erican peoples, the Io n a / o f an in d iv id u a l is discovered soon a fte r B IR T H , fre q u e n tly by contact w ith a p a rtic u la r anim al. T h e term ¿ona/ derives from the N a h u a tl ¿ona//i, a w o rd b earin g such conno­ tations as solar h eat, day, day nam e, destiny, and soul or s p irit. A ccording to Sahagún, the

I D e a th , he appears w ith the lu n a r god T ec u cizte ca tl, and in this reg ard it is in te re s t­ ing to note th a t the Postclassic M ix te e sun god was know n as 1 D e a th . T o the peoples o f C e n tra l M ex ico , T o n a tiu h was a fierce and w a rlik e god. D u rin g the w ars o f Spanish C onquest, the 16th c. A ztecs c alled P edro de A lvarad o - a vicious conquistador T o n atiu h . .See a/so MixTEC GODS; s u N . traders see MERCHANTS trecena In th e ¿ona/am a¿/(see CALENDAR), the period o f 260 days w as d iv id ed in to ¿recenas (th e N a h u a tl w o rd is no lo n g er know n, and M esoam ericanists use th e Spanish te rm ), or periods o f 13 days, counted 1 -1 3 , w ith each n ew trecena beginning w ith 1. T h e first day o f th e ¿recena and its auguries, as w e ll as one or tw o gods, reig n ed over th e e n tire 13-day period. A ccording to the C odex Borbonicus, fo r exam ple, those born in th e ¿recena 1 A tl w ould be im poverished, and th e e n tire 13day period begun on th a t p a rtic u la r day was in general a bad one. H o w e v e r, the Borbonicus and the F lo re n tin e codices, the tw o m ost com plete sources fo r the auguries o f the ¿recenas, do not alw ays agree on the DiviNATiON fo r the ¿recena. T h e A ztec ¿recenas and th e ir patron deities ran as follow s:


173

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

TROPHY HEADS trecena

patro n d eities o f each trecena

1 C ip ac tli 1 O celotl

T onacatecuhdi Q u etzalcoat!

1 M a za tl 1 Xóchitl

T ep e yo llo d , Q u etzalcoatl, or T la zo lte o tl H uehuecoyod or M acu ilxoch id C h alch iu h tlicu e and T la zo lte o d T o n atiu h and Tecuciztecad

1 Acad 1 M iq u iz tli 1 Q u ia h u id

8 9 10

1 M a lin a lli 1 C oad 1 T ec p atl

11 12 13

1 C u etzp allin 1 O llin

14 15 16 17 18 19 20

1 O zo m atli

T la lo c and C hicom ecoatl or 4 Ehecad M a y a h u e l and X o c h ip illi or C in te o tl T la h u izca lp an tec u h d i or X iu h te cu h tli T o n atiu h and M ic d a n te c u h tli Patecatl and C u au h tlio celo tl Itztla c o liu h q u i Ixcu in a or T la zo lte o tl and Tezcadipoca or U acd i

1 Itz c u in tli 1 C a lli

X ip e T o tee and Q uetzalcoatl Itzp a p a lo tl

1 Cozcacuauhdi 1 A tl 1 E hecatl

X o lo tl and T la lch ito n atiu h or 4 O llin C h alch iu h to to tl

1 C u a u h tli 1 T o ch tli

trophy heads L ik e peoples o f C e n tra l and South A m erica, the ancient M a y a preserved the severed heads o f CAPTIVES as trophies. In add itio n , these heads m ay have been considered as a source o f supernatural pow er, the repository o f the s p irit o f the d efeated w a rrio r. D epictions o f trophy heads abound in Protoclassic a rt from the M a y a region. F re q u e n tly they are held in the hand, in the crook o f the arm , or w orn on b e lt assemblages. T h e mask and trip le CELT b e lt assemblage com m only w orn by Classic M a y a rulers pro­ bably derives from trophy heads w orn upon the b elt. T h e peoples o f Classic V eracruz also seem to have had trophy heads. T h e stone HACHAS associated w ith ballgam e belts appear to be based on the concept o f trophy heads. Thus the e a rlie r exam ples are not b la d e-lik e but rounded, and com m only p o rtray lifeless hum an heads. T h e id en tificatio n o f trophy heads w ith ballgam e belts concerns the w id e r association o f decapitation w ith the B A L L C A M E .

C hantico and 1 A cad or 1 C ip ac tli Xochiquetzal and Tezcadipoca Iztap a lto te c and X iu h te cu h tli

The aged creator god, Tonacatecuhtli, as patron of the day Cipactli, Codex Borgia, p. 9, Late Postclassic period.

In M esoam erica, the b all was often m etaph­ o rically considered as a severed hum an head. It is even possible th a t am ong the M a y a , hum an skulls w e re placed in la rg er RUBBER balls, giving them lightness and bounce. P e r­ haps the most developed use o f trophy heads w ith the ballgam e is the T Z O M P A N T U skullrack. A w ooden rack w ith im paled hum an skulls, the ¿zom pant/í appears to have been spe­ cifically id e n tifie d w ith ballcourts.

The sun god, Tonatiuh, detail from a wooden lintel at the Upper Temple of the Jaguar, Chichen Itzá, Early Postclassic period.


TUERTO

174

tu e rto S ig nifyin g an in d iv id u a] b lin d in one

C erillo s turquoise through the trad in g cen ter o f Casas G randes in no rth ern C h ih u ah u a.

eye, the Spanish te rm fu e rfo is used to re fe r to a p e c u lia r a n cien t m o tif, a grotesquely

T o lte c Bgures, especially w a rrio rs , a re fre ­

d efo rm ed and tw isted face. T y p ic a lly , th e

q u e n tly rep resen ted w e arin g costum e e le ­

face appears w ith one eye shut and the nose

m ents covered w ith turquoise mosaic. Some

and m outh tw is te d to one side. A t tim es, the

o f the com m on turquoise mosaic elem ents

tongue curves sidew ays o u t o f the m outh.

a re larg e back MIRRORS, pointed crow ns, and

T h e fu e rfo m o tif seems to d ate to as e a rly as

pectorals in the form o f stylized BUTTERFLIES or D o c s . D u rin g the L a te Postclassic p eriod,

the F o rm a tiv e O lm ec, fo r an exam ple appears on an O lm ec-style stone y u g u ifo (a sm all U -

C e n tra l

shaped stone ob ject, possibly used in the

id e n tifie d w ith turquoise. T h e Codex M a g lia -

M ex ica n

w a rrio rs

w e re

s im ila rly

BALLCAME). D u rin g the Classic p erio d , tuertos

bechiano illustrates a

a re know n fo r TEormuACAN, c en tral V e ra cru z,

b u rn in g . T h e dead w a rrio r is dressed in p ap er

MORTUARY B U N D LE

p rio r to

and the M a y a area. A ltho u g h ra re , the tu e rto

copies o f turquoise ornam ents, these being

m o tif continues in to the L a te Postclassic p e r­

a

iod. A t the A ztec capita! o f T e n o c h titla n , a stone tu e rto head was discovered w ith in the

dog-shaped p ecto ral. In C e n tra l M exico , the turquoise nose piece, or yacajo h u /f/, was

Stage 11 p la tfo rm o f the T em p lo M a y o r, a

e m b lem atic o f the sou! o f the dead w a rrio r.

constructional phase d atin g to app ro xim ately AD 1390. T h e sculpture was found on the

Perhaps because o f the b lu e color a t the h e a rt o f in ten se flam es, turquoise was id e n t­

T la lo c side o f the T em p lo M a y o r, th a t is

ified w ith

the side d edicated to fe rtility .

M exico. T h e god o f fire ,

R A!N

and a g ricu ltu ra l

T o the Aztecs and possibly the e a rlie r peoples o f M esoam erica, the tu e rto face m ay have been id e n tifie d w ith gods o f rain . Am ong the Aztecs, the teptetoton m ountain gods w e re considered to be aspects o f T L A L O C . A ccording to the A ztec F lo re n tin e Codex, the teptetoton punished those w ho tasted P U L Q U E befo re it was fu lly p repared: "A n d o f him w ho secretly tasted it, w ho in secret drank some, even tasting only a little , it was said th a t his m outh w ould becom e tw isted, it w ould stretch to one side; to one side his m outh w ould sh ift; it w ould be d raw n o v e r." This a ilm e n t sounds very lik e the fu erfo face. M ato s M octecum a suggests th a t the fueráo portrays the fac ial paralysis know n as B ell s palsy, w h ich can d erive from trau m a or expo­ sure to extrem e cold. Such a condition could easily occur am ong individuals w ho visited the w in d y and icy fastness o f high m ountains, th e re a lm o f the T la lo q u e and the fepicfofon. S * e e a /% ? D E F O R M IT Y .

turquoise A n e n tire ly opaque stone o f aqua­ m arin e color, turquoise was one o f the treas­ u red gem stones o f ancien t M esoam erica. H o w e v e r, turquoise does not occur n a tu ra lly w ith in th e confines o f M esoam erica. M o s t turquoise appearing th e re derives fro m the C erillo s region o f N e w M exico. This turquoise does not app ear in M esoam erica u n til the ad ven t o f the Toltecs du rin g the E a rly Post­ classic p erio d . T h e y probably secured the

p o in ted

crow n,

F IR E

a

nose

piece,

and

a

in L a te Postclassic C e n tra l x iU H T E C U H T L i,

or

T u rq u oise L o rd , was ric h ly costum ed in turquoise, in clu d in g a p o in ted crow n, breast p en d an t, and shield o f turquoise D u rin g

the

L a te

Postclassic

mosaic.

p erio d ,

the

poin ted turquoise jH u h u /izc M crow n was an im p o rtan t distinguishing m a rk o f ru lers. In N a h u a tl, the term x rh u /i/ signifies "grass" and "so lar y e a r" as w e ll as turquoise. In C e n tra l M ex ica n WRITING and a rt, these three d istin ct m eanings a re d e lib e ra te ly associated w ith one an o th er. Thus the Post­ classic x iU H C O A T L fire serp ent is fre q u e n tly p o rtrayed w ith grass and the tra p e ze -a n d -ra y year sign. D u rin g the L a te Postclassic p erio d , turquoise is rep resen ted e ith e r as a quincunx, or as a circle containing a c en tral e le m e n t o f roughly hourglass fo rm . a/so JA D E . tu rtle B oth m arin e and te rre s tria l turtles w e re o fte n id e n tifie d w ith W A T E R in ancien t M esoam erica. In larg e p a rt, this c le a rly derives fro m th e com m on occurrence o f turtles in aqu atic h ab itats. H o w e v e r, the id e n tific atio n w ith w a te r m ay also be due to the use o f tu rtle shells as m usical instrum ents, possibly as an allusion to th u n d e r. T u rtle carapaces w e re w id e ly used as drum s, and w e re struck w ith an a n tle r, stick, or o th er h ard im p lem en t. Because th e ir bodies form an in stru m en t, tu rtles m ay have been id e n tifie d w ith M usic in C e n tra l M exico. O n page 24 o f the Codex B orgia, a tu rtle plays a d ru m w h ile blow ing a conch tru m p et. T h e Y A n u i figure o f the


175 M ixtees and Zapotees fre q u e n tly w ears a tu rtle carapace, possibly as an allusion to th e rum ble o f thu n d er. T h e tu rtle shell o ften w orn by the M a y a d eity PAUAHTUN m ay also be a reference to th u n d er. O n one L a te Classic vessel, fo u r Pauahtuns are accom ­ panied by fou r C H A C S , the gods o f R A m and LIGHTNING. T h re e o f the Chacs a re p layin g m usic, one w ith a tu rtle carapace and a n tle r. F o r the ancient M a y a , the tu rtle shell described the circu lar and rounded E A R T H . A num ber o f L a te Classic ALTARS are carved in the form o f turtles. O n e such m onum ent, Itz im te A lta r 1, depicts C aban curls - a w e llknow n earth sign - upon the shell. T h e Tonsured M a ize God is o ften represented rising out o f the tu rtle shell e arth . In L a te Postclassic Yucatán, sm all stone turtles served as the locus for penis p erfo ratio n . Page 19 o f the Codex M a d rid illu s tra te Eve gods engaged in B L O O D L E T T IN G around a tu rtle a lta r. Q u ite possibly, this rite was to fe rtiliz e the earth w ith blood d u rin g calen d rical perio d -en din g celebrations. A t M a y ap a n , some stone turtles b ear probable Aafun ending dates. In one instance, an e n tire round o f 13 Aafuns is represented on the rim o f the shell, m aking this sculpture a P rehispanic K atu n W h eel.

^

tw ins M esoam erican peoples g en erally believed tw ins to be dangerous. T h e Aztecs considered the b irth o f tw ins a m alevolent om en and to be such a source o f m isfortune th a t one o f them should be k ille d a t b irth . X O L O T L is the patron o f tw ins and other d efo rm ities, and the very w ord xo /o f/ means tw in in N a h u a tl, and m ay also m ean a doubled M A IZ E p la n t or, as m exo/ol/, a doubled M A G U E Y p lan t. X o lo tl and Q U E T Z A L C O A T L are often p aired , although probably not tw ins; because o f this relatio n ship , c o a l/ has been corrupted in M exican Spanish to cuafe, pal or buddy, and cuafay, tw ins. In the Codex B orgia, T E Z C A T L iP O C A and Q u etzalcoatl are tw ins as they jo u rn ey through the U N D E R W O R L D . T h e PO PO L v u n relates the adventures o f tw o sets o f tw ins fa th ere d by H U N n u N A H P u : H u nah p u and X b a lan q ue, the H e ro T w in s, and H u n B atz and H u n C huen, the M o n k ey Scribe tw ins (see MONKEY). P ain ted M a y a ceram ics reveal o th er p aired in d ivid u als, b u t no o th er pairs o f tw ins can be surely id e n tifie d . Some M a y a pairs, such as the P A D D LE R C O D S , express opposition ra th e r than id e n tity and can be like n e d to A ztec di/rasis/nos, p aired oppositions. 5*ee a / y o B IR T H ; D E F O R M IT Y ; D U A L IT Y .

Place sign for Xiuhtepec, meaning turquoise or grass mountain, Matrícula de Tributos, 16th c. Aztec.

Stone turtle bearing a Katun Wheel on its back, Mayapan, Late Postclassic Maya. This sculpture constitutes the only Prehispanic Katun Wheel known.

The Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, painted within Naj Tunich Cave, Guatemala, Late Classic Maya.


rXiTZÍMÍMK

176

tz itzim im e A m ong th e most feared super­ natural beings o f L a te Postclassic C e n tra l M exico w e re the íz/tzñ n ñ n e (singular fz/tz/ m vf/), the star demons o f darkness. According

containing shalb and banners, or panf/f, O n page 19 o f the Codex Borgia, the fzo m p an d/ is also depicted as a tre e w ith p a n t// banners 5e e a/yo TROPHY HEADS.

to C e n tra l M ex ic an b elie f, planets and con­ stellations could be transform ed into fierce devouring demons durin g p a rtic u la r calendrical and celestial events. Solar ECLIPSES w e re an especially feared phenom enon, since it was b elieved

th at the star demons w e re

@U uay In M a y a n languages, the term n ay com­

attacking the sux. This concept is probably

m only refers to sorcerers and form-changers.

based on the fact that durin g total solar

Am ong contem porary Yucatec, th ere is a

eclipses, STARS can be discerned close to the

great deal o f concern and fear regarding uay

sun, as if they w e re attacking and o verp o w er­ ing it. F o r the Aztecs, the end o f the 52 -ye ar

sorcerers. In fact, the w ord even appears in

cycle was an o ther fea rfu l tim e. I f N e w F ire

fear. B u t although the u ay sorcerer corre­

local Spanish as an expression o f alarm and

was not created on the H ill o f the Star

sponds closely w ith the highland M exican

(see F!RE), the tz/tzúnñne w ould descend and destroy the w orld.

NAHUAL, in certain M a y a n languages the term

signifies a soul-like spirit companion sim ilar

T h e iz/tz/m u n e w e re believed to dive h ead­ first from the heavens, and for this reason,

to the M exican TONAL. In M a y a n languages,

they w ere com pared to the sptDEH hanging head d ow n w ard from its thread. T h e four SKY

m ay w ell re fe r to the w idespread M a y a b e lie f that the soul or spirit com panion travels in

BEARERS, TLAHU!XCALPANTECUHTU, X1UHTECUHTLÍ, EHECATL-QUETXALCOATL and MHTTLANTECUHTL!, could also take on the role o f tzdzñnúne star demons, b ut the tz/fz/m /m e themselves w ere usually considered to be fem ale. T h e Codex M agliabechiano contains skeletal tz/fzñnúne w earing shell-fringed skirts. Am ong the most im p ortan t íz/fzúnñne was the skeletal /fzp a p a /o d , the goddess o f TAMOANCHAN.

dream s w h ile one is asleep. Stephen Houston and D a v id S tuart have isolated a glyph denoting uay. This sign is

tzom pantli O ne o f the m ore striking struc­ tures o f M esoam erican public architecture was the fzom pand/, or skullrack. This was a wooden scaffold containing hum an skulls pierced horizontally by crossbeams. T h e term izompand? is N a h u atl, and it has been w id ely assumed th at this structure derives from Postclassic C entra! M exico. H o w e v e r, a pro­ bable Protoclassic tzom panf/f was excavated a t L a Coyotera, Oaxaca. M o reo ve r, there are indications th at they w e re present a t U xm al and other T e rm in a l Classic M a y a sites in the Puuc region o f Yucatan. In the Q uiche M a y a P O P O L V U H , the severed head o f H U N H U N A H P U was placed in a gourd tree next to the ballcourt. This gourd tree is clearly a reference to the izom pa nf/i filled w ith hum an skulls. In N a h u atl, the term for head is fzonfeccvnaf/, w ith feccvnaf/signifying gourd tree. I t appears th at like the Sumbanese skull trees o f Indonesia, the tzompand? was considered as a tree laden w ith fru it. In a Toltec-style rock painting a t Ixtapantango, there is a izo m p a n d / portrayed as a tree

uay can also m ean d ream in g or sleep. This

composed o f a stylized hum an face serving as the sign for a/ia u or king, b u t w ith one im p ortan t difference - h a lf the face is covered by a jACUAR pelt. In Classic texts, anim als and supernatural figures com m only serve as the uay o f p articu lar M a y a lords. E ven gods are described as having uay counterparts. Thus a skeletal SERPENT is described as being the uay o f C o d K, or K a u il (see scuELLHAS CODS). In the Classic inscriptions, it is uncertain w h e th e r form -changers or spirit companions are being described. F o r this reason, Houston and Stuart p re fe r to describe the u a y as a "co-essence." .See a /fo TONAL. U a ye b Am ong the most im p o rta n t cerem on­ ies described for the contact-period M a y a o f Yucatan w e re the rites concerning the U ayeb, the five unlucky days a t the end o f the year. D e ta ile d descriptions o f the U a ye b rites appear in the 16th c. account by D ieg o de Lan da, and in the C olonial Yucatec Cantares de Dzff&a/cAé. In addition, passages p e rta in ­ ing to the U a ye b rites appear in the Prehispanic D resden, Paris, and M a d rid codices. T h e Yucatec term U a ye b probably signifies the sleeping or resting place o f the year. H o w e v e r, the U a ye b period clearly had more sinister connotations. T h e C an fares de D z ffbaVcAá describes this period as a tim e o f evil


177

UNDERWORLD

w hen the UNDERWORLD is open. T h e Prehispanic g!yph for the U ayeb p erio d is the 360day fun sign topped by a U -shaped skeletal m aw , q u ite probably the cav e-lik e entrance

A tzitzimitl demon, Codex Magliabechiano, 16th c. Aztec.

to the U n derw o rld . T h e U ayeb cerem ony continues to be celeb rated by the T zo tzil o f C ham ula as a n ative form o f C ath o lic C a rn i­ val. In this Eve-day festival, perform ers im personating MONKEYS and o th er dem ons from the perim eters o f the social w o rld take control o f the com m unity. A ccording to the C ham ula people, this festival is p erfo rm ed during the Eve days o f U ayeb. See aVso CALENDAR.

U n d e rw o rld T h e M esoam erican U n d e rw o rld was a fearsom e and d readed place. F o r exam ple, the Q uiche M a y a w ord X ib alb a means "place o f frig h t," and th a t it was indeed. B ut u n like h e ll in the C h ristian w o rld , the M esoam erican U n d e rw o rld was not the preserve o f sinners, b u t ra th e r the destination o f a ll those w ho escaped v io len t d eath, for it was only these la tte r w ho w e n t d ire ctly to one o f the heavens. In th e ir preaching, the Spanish friars g en erally translated the w ord for the C h ris tia n h e ll as M ic tla n , b u t threats o f an e te rn ity in M ic tla n had little effect, since the audience alread y knew th a t a ll souls, w h e th e r rich or poor, good or e v il, m ust go there. A t the tim e o f the Conquest, most C e n tra l M exican people believed in the cosm ographical scheme o f nine levels o f the U n d erw o rld , w ith 13 levels o f upper w o rld. According to the Codex Vaticanus A , w h ere the 9 -1 3 schem e receives its most e xp licit and am ple presentatio n , T la lticp a c, lite ra lly "on the sur­ face o f the e a rth ," belongs to both sequences, and so was considered the Erst level o f both w orlds. T h e M a y a c ertain ly perceived layers o f both U n d e rw o rld and up p er w o rld but the notion o f nine levels o f the U n d e rw o rld is not speciEc or universal for the M a y a , nor is it fo r e ith e r the M ixtees or the Zapotees. N evertheless, the construction o f num erous n in e -le ve l PYRAMIDS du rin g the Classic and T e rm in a l Classic era (e.g. T e m p le I a t T ik a l, T e m p le o f Inscriptions a t P alenque, and the C astillo a t C hichen Itz á ) m ight reEect such a conceit, p a rtic u la rly in the case o f fu n e ra ry pyram ids. T h e notion o f "houses" in w hich

(AgAf) A tzompantli skullrack, Codex Durán, 16th c. Aztec (Re/ow) A water jaguar described as the uay of a Seibal lord, detail from a Late Classic Maya vase.

the H e ro T w in s undergo ordeals in X ib a lb a also suggests com partm ents, if not exactly levels, in the U n d e rw o rld . X ib a lb a , and the M a y a

U n d e rw o rld in

general, could be entered through a

CAVE,

or

(B/gAf) The sign for the Eve-day Uayeb period, Palenque, Late Classic Maya.


VEINTENA

176 w h e re v e r one

g re at a tte n tio n from th e Spanish a t th e tim e

stood, th e U n d e rw o rld la y to the w est, w hich

stiH, standing WATER. F ro m

o f th e C onquest, perhaps because the series o f 18 a g ric u ltu ra l festivals offered closer a n a l­

m ay be w h y th e islands o ff C am peche, in c lu d ­ in g Jaina, received so m any b u ria ls: th e y

ogies to E u ro p ean m onths and C h ris tia n feast

w e re th e last lan d masses to th e w est o f the

days than any o th e r aspect o f the M es o am e ri-

Y ucatan p en insu la. In

th e

POPOL vuH,

th e

can CALENDAR. U n fo rtu n a te ly , the

N ah u at!

U n d e rw o rld geography includes a t least tw o

term fo r th e tim e perio d has been lost; no

rivers and varies m uch lik e th e geography o f

record o f the veintena survives in a C en tra!

the surface w o rld , and its re alm is vast. W h e n

M exican m anuscript m ade b efo re th e C o n ­

p re p a rin g fo r d eath and a jo u rn e y in to the

quest, p ro b ab ly because it d id not p lay th e

U n d e rw o rld , a M a y a steeled h im s e lf to be

sam e ro le in DiviNATiON th a t the TRECENA, as

lik e a H e ro T w in , th a t is, to b e a b le to

p a rt o f the tonaipoA ua///, d id . N evertheless,

overcom e the U n d e rw o rld gods and th e ir

because religious festivals w e re organized fo r

tria ls through w it and perseverance.

each

In C e n tra l M exico , the eig h t layers u n d er

vein ten a, the Spanish studied

them

assiduously, and fro m th e ir accounts em erge

the surface o f the EARTH o ffered discrete

some o f th e m ost d e ta ile d descriptions o f

hazards th a t had to be endured by the souls

A ztec religious practices. T h e veintena fe s ti­

o f the dead: dangerous w aters, clashing MOUN­

vals w e re la rg e ly a g ric u ltu ra l, w ith m any

TAINS, OBSTAN blades, a rro w SACRIFICE, and

ded icated to the RAIN gods and the MAizECODs.

HEART sacrifice am ong them , befo re the souls

V eintena cerem onies w e re w id e ly cele b rated

fin a lly reached

throughout M eso am erica, b u t usually the

M ic tla n , w h e re

M ic r L A N T E -

cuHTLi and his w ife M ic te ca cih u a tl reigned

term is reserved fo r the peoples o f C e n tra !

over the deepest n eth er region. T o aid the dead soul in the perilous jo u rn e y , the dead

M exico . W e can also consider the M a y a count o f m onths to have been veintenas. T h e 18 A zte c veintenas ran as follow s, to

w e re crem ated w ith th e ir w o rld ly pos­ sessions, p a rtic u la rly th e ir tools - such as a w om an's w eavin g k it - as w e ll as precious item s from the surface th a t m ight speed the ordeal - such as JADE beads and fro th y hot chocolate (see C A C A O ). W hen the souls o f the dead fin a lly a rriv ed in M ic tla n , they offered up th e m aterials w ith w hich the bodies had been burned. Some gods traveled in and out o f the U n d e rw o rld : to create a n ew g eneration o f m ankind, for exam ple, QUETZALCO ATL descended in to M ic tla n to steal the bones o f a previous race o f hum ans. Throughout M esoam erica, Docs w e re con­ sidered valu ab le com panions and guides fo r the dead sp irit, and dog skeletons are occasionally found in TO M B S from the b egin­ ning o f Classic tim es onw ard. In W est M exico, p a rtic u la rly in C o lim a, m ourners placed p o ttery dogs in shaft tom bs, p ro b ab ly as an expression o f a sim ilar concept. In the F lo re n tin e Codex, only a y ello w dog could fe rry his m aster across the treacherous w aters o f the U n d e rw o rld , ^ee a/so A F T E R L IF E ; D E A T H .

vein ten a T h e veintena, or 20-d ay p erio d , or "m o n th ," in th e A ztec calendar, received

be succeeded by the nem ontem i, or nam eless days, a fte r T ititl, b efo re the b eginning o f a new 365-d ay year. T h e re is some disagree­ m en t ab o u t the tim in g o f the p rin c ip a l feasts.


179

VEINTENA vein ten a nam e

p rin c ip al deities

p rin cip al celebrations

1

Izc a lli

T la lo c, X iu h te c u h tli

ffu a uAquífVfarnaVcMa/tzí/í (m eal of am aranth tam ales); feast for X iu h te cu h tli every four years

2

A tlcahualo, X ilo m a n a liztli

T la lo q u e

C u au h u itleh u a (liftin g o f posts, p lan tin g o f trees, stretching of lim bs); young m aize

3

T la ca xip e h u aliztli

X ip e Totee

Feast o f X ip e , god o f spring; Haying o f cap­ tives

4

T o zo zto n tli

T la lo q u e, T la lte c u h tli, X ip e T o tee

B loodletting; first flow ers

5

H u ey to zo ztli

T la lo q u e, C in te o tl, C h icom ecoatl

B loodletting; feasts to T lalo c, m aize gods; first

6

Toxcatl, T epopochtli

7 8

E tza lc u a liztli T e c u ilh u ito n tli

T ezcatlipo ca, H u itzilo pochtli T lalo c H u ixto cih u a tl, X o ch ip illi

9 10

X ilo n en , m aize gods H u itzilo p o ch tli

12

H u e y te c u ih u itl Tlaxochim aco, M ic c a ilh u ito n tli X o co tlhu etzi, H u eym icc a ilh u itl O ch p an iztli

13

T eotleco or P achtontli

14

H u ey p ac h tli or T e p e ilh u itl

X iu h te cu h tli, H u itz ilo ­ pochtli T la lo q u e, Xochiquetzal

15

Q uecholli

M ixcoat! or C am axtli

16

P a n q u etzaliztli

H u itzilo p o ch tli

17 18

A te m o ztli T itit!

T lalo q u e Ila m a te c u h tli.

11

H u eh u ete o tl, X iu h te cu h tli T la zo lteo tl, Toci

(O p p ose) Celebrants dance around a Xocotl pole erected during the veintena of Xocotlhuetzi. This rite featured a climbing competition in which noble youths tried to obtain an image placed at the top of the pole, Codex Borbonicus, p. 28, 16th c, Aztec.

fruits Feasts to Tezcatlipoca and H u itzilo p o ch tli Feasts to young crops Feast to goddess o f salt, H u ixto cih uatl; exchange o f noble clothing and Rowers Feast o f X ilonen Feast o f m erchants; sm all feast fo r the dead Feast o f the xocot/ pole Mamfena o f sw eeping and bathing; feast o f T la zo l teo tl, Toci; scaffold sacri­ fice; harvest feasts B loodletting; feast of H u itzilo p o ch tli M o u n tain feasts to T lalo c; sacrifice o f X ochiquetzal im personator Feasts o f M ixco atl; ritu a l hunts M a in festival to H u itz ilo ­ pochtli; banners Feasts to w a te r deities Feasts to Ila m a te c u h tli, old people


As recorded in th e 7?e/a<nón cfe AircAoacdn, the

Tarascans

abo

c ele b rated

veintenas,

although th e surviving list is in co m p lete. O n ly C u in g o, "H a y in g ," can be surely lin k ed to a speciHc M ex ica n fe s tiv a l, T la c a x ip e h u a liztli, although

Johanna

B roda

has in vestigated

o th e r p a rallels . A lfonso Caso o ffe red a recon­ struction:

Venus N o fem a le sym bol o f ero tic love, in M esoam erica

the p la n et Venus em bodied

dan g er, and alw ays took anthropom orphic form as á m ale god. T h e p erio d ic m ovem ents o f Venus o ffered w arnings o f drought, danger, and w a rfa re . TLAHurzcALPANTEcuHTLi, C e n tra l M ex ica n god o f the m orning star, is the p rin c ip a l Venus god, b u t o th e r gods m ay h u rl darts and preside o ver these b a le fu l periods.

Tarascan v ein ten a

A zte c v ein ten a Iz c a lli

star; X O L O T L has som etim es been considered to be his tw in and to represent the evening star,

2

T zitacu aren scu aro Purecoracua

3

C uingo

A tlcah u alo T la c a x ip e h u a liztli

and it m ay have been th a t T la h u izc a lp a n te -

4

U n isperacuaro

T o zo zto n tli

c u h tli presided over the evening star as w e ll.

5

n /a

H u e y to zo ztli

A m ong th e Postclassic M a y a , L ah u n C han

6 7

n /a

T oxcatl

was a m a lev o le n t Venus god. F o r the Classic

M azcu to

E tza lc u a liztli

perio d M a y a , a skeletal d e ity whose nam e is

8

U azcata cónscuaro

T e c u ilh u ito n tli

unknow n was the god o f the evening star.

9

C a h e ri cónscuaro

H u ey te cu ih u it!

H anciñáscuaro

Tlaxochim aco X o co tihu etzi

1

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

H ic u a n d iro S icuindiro C h arap u zapi U apánscuaro C a h e ri uapánscuaro n /a Peuánscuaro C u rin d aro

P achtontli H u eyp ach tii

dangerous rays: those a fra id o f its pernicious

Q u ech o lli P a n q u etzaliztli A te m o ztli T ititl

it b rin g on sickness and m isfortu n e. Venus lies closer to th e SUN than the EARTH and orbits the sun m ore q u ickly, b u t seen from the vantage p o in t o f the e a rth , it takes

A ztec vein ten a

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

A n thudoeni A buoentaxi A n ttzayo h A tzhotho A n ta tzh o n i A tzib ip h i A neguoeni A nttzengohm uh A ntangohm uh A nttzengotu

11

A ntangotu

12

A m baxi A nttzenboxegui

Iz c a lli X ilo m a n a liztli T la c a x ip e h u a liztli T o zo zto n tli H u eyto zo ztli Toxcatl E tza lc u a liztli T e c u ilh u ito n tli H u ey te cu ih u it! M ic c a ilh u ito n tli, Tlaxochim aco H u ey m ic ca ilh u itl, X o co tlhu etzi O c h p an iztli P ach to n tli H u ey p ac h tli Q u ech o lli P a n q u e tza liztli A te m o ztli T ititl

18

A ncandehe A m bue

A ccording to the F lo re n tin e C odex, the influence o f Venus could be good o r e v il, bu t the instructions fo r d ealin g w ith it re ve al th a t m ost people p erceived it to be the source o f

O to m i vein ten a

A tam axegui A n tzh o n i A nthaxm e

b u t there is no evidence fo r these associations,

O c h p an iztli

Caso, Jacques Soustelle, Pedro C arrasco, and Johanna B roda have also investigated the O to m i veintenas, and these align c learly w ith A ztec counterparts:

13 14 15 16 17

QUETZALCOATL is also a god o f the m orning

lig h t sealed any openings in th e ir houses lest

584 days fo r th e e a rth , sun, and Venus to re tu rn to a specific alig n m en t. F ro m a t least E a rly Classic tim es o n w ard , the M a y a k ep t track o f the cycle (as th e Teotihuacanos m ay w e ll have done too, although th ey have le ft us no speciHc records), recognizing th a t this b rig h test " s ta r" o f tw o d istin ct phases, m o rn ­ ing and evening star, was a single heaven ly body. W h e n Venus rises as th e m o rning star, it appears b efo re sunrise and leads the sun out o f the UNDERWORLD; w h en Venus rises as the evening star, it comes in to v ie w ju s t a fte r sunset and then follow s th e sun in to th e U n d e rw o rld . W h e n Venus passes d ire c tly in fro n t o f the sun, m odern astronom ers call its position in fe rio r conjunction, and it g en e rally cannot be observed fo r a fe w days (usu ally 8) before its AeRacai ris in g as the m o rning star; it then rises as the m orning star fo r roughly 263 days. Its o rb it then takes Venus b eh ind the sun for su p erio r conjunction, a period o f 55 to 60 days w h en again th e p la n e t cannot be seen, b efo re it m akes it Erst appearance as the evening star, in w hich position it rem ains fo r 263 days b efo re vanishing in fro n t o f the sun again. T h e cycle takes 584 days to com plete;


181

VISION SERPENT

irreg u larities g en erally occur in days o f v ie w ­ ing a t a p artic u la r station ra th e r than in the cycle over a ll. C uriously, according to both M a y a and C en tra! M exican m anuscripts, M esoam erican astronom ers reg u larized the Venus periods, extending superior conjunc­ tion and ab b reviatin g both the m orning and evening star, bu t p a rtic u la rly the fo rm er, to create unequal periods, w hereas, in fact, the tim es o f v is ib ility are roughly equal. A ccord­ ingly, in fe rio r conjunction lasted 8 days, the m orning star 236 days, superior conjunction 90 days, and the evening star 250 days. F iv e com plete Venus cycles = 2920 days = 8 x 365 days, so the Venus cycle easily in te r­ locked w ith the solar year (see CALENDAR). Several Precolum bian books c are fu lly chart Venus, most notably the D resden and C ro lie r codices (M a y a ) and the B orgia, Vaticanus B, and Cospi (C e n tra l M ex ica n ). B oth sets show stabbings and destruction under the auspices o f the Venus gods, usually a t h eliacal rising. In both C e n tra l M exico and am ong the M a y a , Venus calendars are read from 1 X ó ch itl or 1 A h au , the base day for heliacal rising. Long thought to have been a Postclassic religious construct, the b alefu l influence o f Venus is now know n to be o f g re ater a n tiq u ity in M esoam erica. Classic M a y a inscriptions recording "star w a rs /* or w ars tim ed to coincide w ith the m ovem ents o f Venus and som etim es Jupiter, in d icate th a t m any battles w ere scheduled to occur on the days w hen Venus rose for the first tim e a fte r its in fe rio r or superior conjunction. T h e inscriptions also indicate th a t M aya astronom ers charted both m axim um brightness and greatest elongation o f both m orning and evening star and tim ed battles accordingly. These "star w ars" w e re the g reatest conflagrations in Classic M a y a tim es and took place w ith increasing fre q u ­ ency du rin g the 8th c., probably contributing to the Classic M a y a collapse. Victorious M a y a lords o f Venus w a rfa re donned costumes laden w ith C en tra! M exican im agery, in clu d ­ ing

B U T T E R F L IE S , T L A L O C

SER PENT,

and the

faces,

O W LS ,

Vision Serpent Through ritu als o f T iN C ,

the

WAR

M E X IC A N YEAR S IG N .

BLO O DLET-

Classic M a y a nobles conjured up im ages

o f rearin g

SERPENTS

whose m ouths belch gods,

ancestors, and other nobles. A t Yaxchilán, such im ages are specifically lin k ed to penis and tongue b lo o d lettin g and a re g en erated in clouds o f smoke rising fro m

the burning

asssM; (Above) A section from the Venus pages of the Dresden Codex, Postclassic Yucatán.

(Agbf) A Vision Serpent rising from a burning blood offering, Yaxchilán Lintel 15, Late Classic Maya.


V U C U B C A Q U fX

!M

BLOOD oE ering. In a ll like lih o o d , these Vision Serpents fun ctio n as visual m etaphors fo r BiBTH and re b irth , w h e th e r o f d iv in itie s o r

Classic e n tity does not display th e beaded round eye and thick beak o f the m acaw , and m ay ra th e r be based upon the king vi LTLw

hum ans. Vision Serpents usually have a single

(Sarroram pA u^ p a p a ). Supplied w ith a WATER

head and p ro m in e n t snake m arkings; they

LILY pad headdress and a SERPENT body, this

m ay u n d u la te , although th e y ra re ly a p p ear

b ird h ead can serve as the head v a ria n t of

on the ground, and they som etim es have

th e 3 60-d ay tun p erio d and th e num eral 13.

fe a th e r crests.

In a d d itio n , this sam e character is re p ­ resented as th e personified b lo o d le tte r re n d ­

As SKY d eities , V ision Serpents also a p p ear on the C hichen Itz á gold disks, some w ith

ered w ith a headdress o f tied knots. See a/so

cloud

WATER LILY SERPENT.

m arkings along th e ir

bodies. Some

codex-style C lassic vases d ep ict the serpent foo t o f C od K (see scHELLHAS coos) as a Vision

v u ltu re T h e

S erp en t or in the process o f becom ing one,

p a p a ), one o f the larg est birds o f M eso am er-

lin k in g the Vision S erpent to the M a y a god o f ucHTMmc. M o rp h o lo g ic a lly , th e M a y a vision

ica, reaching a size roughly e q u iv a le n t to the h arp y E A G L E , ra re ly ventures above 4 000'

serpent closely resem bles the Postclassic C e n ­

(c.

tra! M exican xiuncoATL, or fire serpent. L ik e

M esoam erican civilizatio n s outside the V a lle y

the X iu h co atl, the Vision S erpent m ay ap p ear

o f M exico , although the s m aller tu rkey v u l­

1200 m ),

king

and

v u ltu re

so was

(Sarcoram phus

best know n

to

in clouds, em bodying ligh tn in g and FIRE, and

tu re (C a lA a rfe s a u ra ) and th e black v u ltu re

perhaps, by extension, p o w erfu l storm s.

(C bragypes a ira lu y ) a re com m on e ve ryw h e re in M eso am erica. T h e C e n tra l M ex ica n day

Vucub C aquix In the popoLvuu (th e creation epic describing the deeds o f the H e ro T w in s )

sign C o zcacu auh tli is th e v u ltu re . A lfonso Caso and Ig n acio B ern al id en tiE ed

a g reat m onster b ird know n as V ucub C aq u ix, or 7 M a c a w , presides over the m urky tw ilig h t w o rld follo w in g the flood. A lthough he pro­ claim s h im self to be the SUN and MOON, the d aw ning and separation o f day and N icm have not y e t occurred. A ngered by his arrogance, H u nah p u and X b alanq u e w a it for the m on­ ster b ird un d er his fav o rite fru it tree , and then shoot him dow n w ith th e ir blowguns. D u rin g the fierce b a ttle th a t ensues, H u nahpu loses his arm . H o w ev er, through m agic and tric ke ry, the H ero T w in s even tu ally d efe at and k ill Vucub C aquix and restore the arm o f H u nah p u . A lthough the P opo/ VuA is a C olonial M a y a docum ent, the episode o f Vucub C aquix can be traced to th e Protoclassic beginnings o f M a y a civiliza tio n . Stela 2 from th e site o f Iza p a portrays the tw o H e ro T w in s running tow ard Vucub C aquix, w ho is descending to his fru it tre e . A t the base o f the tre e , one can discern the crum pled rem ains o f the defeated b ird w ith a bone ja w . T h e m onster b ird also appears on Iza p a Stela 25, above a m ale w ith a b leed in g stum p fo r an arm . C le a rly , this scene portrays the fig h t in w hich Vucub C aquix tears o ff H unah p u 's arm . Representations o f the PRINCIPAL BIRD DEITY abound in the a rt o f Protoclassic and Classic M a y a and can be id e n tifie d w ith Vucub C aquix. A lthough V ucub C aquix signified 7 M a c a w in Q u ich é, the Protoclassic and

a Z apotee d e ity , E l A ve de Pico A ncho, as a v u ltu re . This Zapotee d e ity is id e n tic al to the PRINCIPAL BIRD DEITY o f the M a y a , w ho is also a v u ltu re . Protoclassic kings a t K am in alju y ú

and L a M o ja rra a rra y e d them selves as this god. O fte n adorned w ith a h eadband, the king v u ltu re head substitutes fo r aAau in M a y a n w n m N C , both fo r th e d ay sign and to m ean " lo rd ."

W a r Serpent C re a te d d u rin g th e 3rd c. A D , the T e m p le o f Q u etzalcoat! o rig in a lly contained one o f the m ost e lab o ra te a rch itec tu ral facades know n in a n cien t M eso am erica. T w o form s o f tenoned sculpture p ro ject ou t o f the facade. O n e o f these heads is c le a rly the p lum ed serpent, or Q U E T Z A L C O A T L . H o w e v e r, the o th er e n tity has been m ore d iffic u lt to id e n tify . A ltho u g h it has been w id e ly in te r­ p re te d as th e head o f T la lo c , it is a ctu ally a m osaic headdress p o rtray in g a serpent being w ith ja g u a r attrib u te s . Because o f its fre q u e n t appearance w ith w eapons and w a rrio r Egures, this e n tity can be called the W a r Serpent. T h e W a r S erpent is p ro b ab ly an ancestral form o f the x iu H C O A T L , th e Ere serpent o f Postclassic C e n tra l M exico . A ltho u g h the w a r serpent probably originates a t T E O T IH U A C A N , it


183

WATER

is also com m only found in Classic M a y a and Zapotee a rt. <See a/so TEonHUACAN coos. w a rrio r orders A t the tim e o f the Spanish Conquest, certain A ztec w arrio rs w e re id en tiBed w ith p o w erfu l predators o f the n atu ra l w o rld , p artic u la rly EAGLES and JAGUARS, and these have come to be called the eagle knights and the ja g u ar or tig er knights. (In m odern M esoam erica, there are no tigers, b u t a ll w ild cats, p a rtic u la rly pumas and jaguars, are often called &gre in Spanish.) T h e N ah u a tl m etaphor fo r w arrio rs, in c n a n h t/i in oce/oi/, "th e eagles, the ja g u ars ," expressed the oppo­ sitions o f SKY and EARTH and o f day and N ic m r. T h e eagle and ja g u ar knights served HuiTZiLOP O C H T L i , the SUN, and the A ztec c u lt god p a r exce/ience. A t the creation o f the Bfth sun a t T eotihuacan (see CREATION ACCOUNTS), the eagle and ja g u ar hu rled them selves into the burning pyre a fte r N an ah u atzin and T ecu ciztecatl to generate the Brst eagle and ja g u ar knights. T h e A ztec m yth thus suggests an a n tiq u ity to the w a rrio r orders. A lthough th ere was no standing A ztec arm y, m em bers o f the eagle and jag u ar knights cam e from e lite society and dedicated th e ir lives to th e ir roles. T h ey freq u e n tly p artic ip a te d in public celebrations, p artic u ­ la rly o f the VEINTENAS. D u rin g the m onth o f T la c a x ip e h u a liztli, fo r exam ple, the eagle and ja g u a r knights fought CAPTIVES tied to the T E M A L A C A T L in g la d iato ria l bouts, and engaged in s treet skirm ishes w ith the X ip e im person­ ators. R ecent excavations in T en o ch titlan have revealed a tem ple to the eagle knights adjacent to the d ual P Y R A M ID dedicated to T L A L O C and H u itzilo p o ch tli. P ain ted friezes o f a lte rn a tin g coyotes and pum as or jaguars a t T E O T I H U A C A N m ay sym bol­ ize e arly w a rrio r orders there, and the cults m ay have been quickly adopted by the M a y a , fo r some E a rly Classic w arrio rs a t T ik a l and elsew here include coyote fu r in th e ir costumes. A t the end o f the 8th c., the c h ie f victorious w a r­ riors in the B onam pak m uráis a ll w e ar ja g u ar costum es; in contem poraneous paintings at C acaxtla, a noble eagle w a rrio r and ja g u a r w a rrio r fram e a doorw ay. E agle and ja g u ar w arrio rs parade a t both T u la (seeTOLLAN) and C hichen Itz á , and the presence o f coyotes a t T u la and bears a t C hichen Itz á suggest add itio n al orders there as w e ll. w a te r Because o f th e ir dependence upon a g ricu ltu re , w a te r has been o f c en tral concern

The defeat of Vucub Caquix, Izapa Stela 2, Protoclassic Maya. In this scene, the descending bird is being attacked by the two Hero Twins. Vucub Caquix appears a second time, now defeated, at the base of the fruit tree.

(RigAf) Maya Bgure wearing War Serpent headdress, vessel sherd, Belize, Late Classic Maya.

(Be/ow) The eagle and jaguar warrior orders, Codex Borbonicus, p. 11, 16th c. Aztec.


WATEH LJLY

164

to both a n cien t and contem porary peoples o f

Lacandon account, the g reat god Kakoch

M eso am erica. P a rtic u la r regions, such as the ocean, SPRINGS, and MOUNTAINS are fre q u e n tly

created a w a te r lily from w hich a ll the other gods w e re born.

w orshipped as m agical sources o f w a te r. In

In M a y a iconography, tw o gods a re p artic u ­ la rly associated w ith the w a te r lily . O n e of

M es o am e ric a, the gods o f w a te r - especially RAIN - a re am ong the m ost an c ie n t and pervas­ Zap o tee cocido, and TLAjuoc o f C e n tra ! M ex ico .

these is th e U n d e rw o rld d enizen know n as the W a te r L ily Jaguar, whose m odern nam e derives from the w a te r lily flo w er placed

O fte n , m ale gods o f ra in a re distinguished

p ro m in e n tly on his b ro w . T h e o th er being is

iv e d eities , p a rtic u la rly the M a y a

CHAC,

the

from fem a le d eities o f standing w a te r. T h e

th e

nam e o f th e C e n tra l M e x ica n goddess CHAL

body, b e a k -lik e face, and the bound w a te r

cHiUHTLicuE, She

o f th e

Jade

S k irt,

is a

m etap h oric allusion to a shining expanse o f v erd a n t w a te r. As w e ll as a source o f a g ric u ltu ra l fe rtility ,

W A T E R L IL Y S E R P E N T ,

id e n tifie d by its

SERPENT

lily pad and B ow er serving as its headdress. The

W a te r

L ily

S erpent serves as head

varian ts o f the n u m eral 13 and th e 360-day tun p erio d . <See a/yo

jA C U A H C O D S .

w a te r was also an im p o rta n t m eans o f cere­ m onial PURIFICATION. A m ong

the

M aya

of

Y ucatán, n ative pRiEsrs consecrated an area by scattering w a te r from a s e rp e n t-ta ile d aspergillum . T h e w a te r used in this act o f p u rific atio n d erived from d ew gath ered from

W a te r L ily S erpent K now n only am ong the M a y a , the W a te r L ily S erp en t sym bolizes the surface o f s till is an u n d u latin g

W ATER.

A ltho u g h the body

SERPENT,

the head has the

d o w n w ard curvin g b eak o f a b ird , often w ith

lected in distant locations rem oved from the

crossed bands in fixed in the lo w e r ja w . A W A T E R L I L Y pad and F L O W E R form th e headdress,

presence o f w om en; zu h u y ha continues to be an im p o rtan t com ponent o f m odern M a y a

a su p ern atu ral p atro n o f the NUMBER 13 and

leaves or from v irg in w a te r, zu h u y ha, col­

a g ricu ltu ra l cerem onies. A m ong both the Postclassic Yucatec M a y a and C e n tra l M e x ­ ican Aztecs, w a te r was used in BAPTISM cere­ m onies as a means o f p u rifyin g the child. w a te r lily O ne o f the m ore lovely flo w erin g plants o f M esoam erica, the w a te r lily (M y /n p h aea spp.) grows in re la tiv e ly still w aters such as ponds, lakes, and slow -m oving rivers. These conditions correspond w e ll to the hum id M a y a low lands, and it is thus not surprising th a t this p la n t abounds in Classic M a y a a rt. In M a y a iconography, the w a te r lily fre ­ q u en tly denotes standing W A T E R , including the surrounding and sustaining S E A . Perhaps because o f its alm ost m iraculous em ergence out o f the s till w a te r, the w a te r lily m ay have served as a m odel fo r the creation o f the E A R T H . T h e lid o f one E a rly Classic M a y a ceram ic vessel depicts a p a ir o f 8sh and birds n ib b lin g a w a te r lily , as if the p la n t is the te rre s tria l in terfa ce b etw een the S K Y and the w a te ry U N D E R W O R L D . M o re o v e r, th e veined surface o f the w a te r lily le a f is fre q u e n tly m arked w ith a n e t-lik e p a tte rn also used to d ep ict the surface o f tu rtle shells. A m ong the M a y a , th e TURTLE was ano th er m odel fo r the c ircu lar e arth floating upon th e sea. T h e ro le o f the w a te r lily in M a y a creation m ythology continued in to this century. A ccording to one

and a 6sh o ften nibbles a t the flo w e r. H e is substitutes fo r th a t n u m b er, and m ay also figure as the personified fun, o r yea r, sign. A t D zib ilc h a ltu n , W a te r L ily Serpents u n d ulate along the u pper frie ze o f the T e m p le o f the Seven D o lls, and ab u n d an t a d jac en t sea S H E L L offerings suggest th a t the a n cien t c ity m ay have represented the im age o f an oasis in hot, d ry n o rth e rn Yucatan. T o d ay, w a te r lilie s Boat on the D zib ilc h a ltú n C E N O T E . Classic M a y a kings and o th e r lords o ften w e a r the head o f th e W a te r L ily S erpent as a headdress, som etim es in contexts o f aspersion and daubing o f p a in t. T h e W a te r L ily S erpent is closely re la te d to th e S h e ll/ W in g dragon, w ho som etim es rests on the W a te r L ily Serpent's headdress. T h e K an cross W a te r L ily M o n s te r, o r T u b u la r H e a d ­ dress M o n s te r, is p ro b ab ly a v a ria n t o f the W a te r L ily S erpent. w eaponry M eso am erican d eities, lik e th e ir m o rtal counterparts, carried w eapons, and some M esoam erican w eapons w e re th e m ­ selves d eities. T h e fo llo w in g lis t is not com ­ prehensive, b u t it includes the w eapons m ost com m only c arried b y the gods. E ven am ong the O lm ecs, some d eities w ere arm ed: the e a rly flyin g figures b ea r clubs, and seated figures - sup ern atu ral or d ivin e often hold "kn u ckled u sters:" hand stones th a t m ay have been some sort o f w eapon.


185

WERE-JACUAR

By Classic tim es, w eaponry is fa r m ore elaborate: both gods and hum ans w e a r arm or, bear shields and carry a w id e v a rie ty o f weapons. In C e n tra l M exico , a t T e o tihuacan, w arriors b ear OBsmiAN-tipped lances, arrow s, and a f/a i/s , or d a rt throw ers, and this la tte r w eapon retains an id e n tific atio n w ith C e n tra l M exico throughout tim e. T h e M a y a adom th e ir shields w ith the face o f the Jaguar God o f the U n d erw o rld (see JAGUAR GODs), a patron o f w a r, and som etim es the Jaguar God o f the U n d erw o rld h im self is arm ed. M a y a kings som etim es b ear the MANIKIN SCEPTER in hand as if it w e re a w eapon; h eld in the hands o f CHAC, the M a n ik in Scepter em bodies LIGHTNING. D eitie s and w arrio rs both hold h afted axes, often w ith bloody tips. T h e H ero T w in s shoot pellets from th e ir blowguns. In the Postclassic era, perhaps most im p o rtan t am ong d eified weapons is the xiUHCOATL, or Ere serpent, the w eapon th a t HuiTziLOPOCHTLi bears in his hand a t b irth and uses to k ill his h alf-sister, coYOLXAUHQui, and to banish his h alf-b ro th ers, the C entzon H u itz nahua. O th e r A ztec deities also carry w eapons, usually the a t/a t/, b u t occasionally long spears. In close com bat, the Aztecs fought w ith the m acuahuit/, a club im bedded w ith obsidian blades. Across M esoam erica and throughout tim e, w eapons w e re in most cases used in com bat to disable bu t not to k ill the opponent. Victorious lords dispatched th e ir captured enem ies pub­ licly , using knives w ith h afted obsidian blades e ith e r to decapitate or to rem ove the H E A R T . w e re-ja g u ar As the O lm ec civilizatio n began to be recognized early in this century, m any o f its zoom orphic figures w ere thought to be o f fe lin e d erivatio n and the anthropom orphic ones o f a h u m an -felin e blend - or w h a t have come to be called w ere-jaguars. W e re there h a lf hum an, h a lf J A C U A H creatures? In his fam ous hypothesis, M a tth e w S tirlin g argued th a t the Olm ecs believed in a supernatural m ating betw een hum ans and jaguars, leading to a special race o f w ere-jag u ars, b u t this overarching theo ry cannot explain the d iv e r­ sity and com plexity o f O lm ec supernaturals. O n ly one, the R ain B aby, clea rly seems to be a hu m an -jag uar blend. A n o th er class o f figures th a t dem onstrates the change o f hum ans into jaguars and o th er anim als pro­ bably

illustrates

sham anic

transform ation.

^ e e a / y o JAGUAR; NAHUAL; OLMEC CODS; SHAMAN; STTRLINC HYPOTHESIS; TONAL; UAY.

Were-jaguar: a chart by Miguel Covarrubias suggesting the evolution of Mesoamerican rain gods from the Olmec jaguar god.


w in d S om ething th a t m oves bu t cannot be seen, th e w in d com m only sym bolizes the en g en d erin g , c re a tiv e s p irit from w h ich life

an cien t M a y * relig io n , green ia the color associated w ith the c en tral place. T h e C o lo n ­ ia l Yucatec C /u /a m B a/am o f C A um aye/

d erives. A m ong the Zapotees, this force w as

describes fou r /m ix yaxcAe set up a t the four

know n as p e e , sig n ifyin g w in d , b re a th , or

corners o f the w o rld , each associated w ith

s p irit, i t was b eliev ed to reside in a ll things th a t m oved and thus show ed life . A m ong

th e c a rd in a l d ire c tio n a l COLORS o f re d , w h ite , black and y ello w . Thus the yaxcAe w o rld tree

the M a y a , w in d was rep resen ted by a sign

is sim ultaneously a single green tre e and fou r

resem bling

th e

L a tin

trees associated w ith a d ire ctio n al color. O n

M a y a wRiTmc, this T -sh ap ed

pages 25 to 28 o f th e Postclassic M a y a Codex

d evice is the id e n tify in g e lem e n t o f the second

D resden the fq u r d ire ctio n al trees are illu s­

a lp h ab et, in

le tte r

"T "

o f th e

day nam e, ik , signifying " w in d " in Yucatec.

tra te d w ith a p a rtic u la r god and card in al

D u rin g the Classic p erio d , the head v a ria n t

region.

o f the num ber 3 fre q u e n tly displays the w in d

In the D resden passage, the w o rld trees

sign upon his cheek, possibly d enoting him

a re associated w ith th e fo u r YEARBEARERs, the

as the god o f w in d .

days by w h ich th e 3 65-d ay y ear was nam ed.

Perhaps ancien t CO ATL,

the

best-know n

M eso am erica

is

of

A m a rke d ly s im ila r passage occurs on pages

EHECATL QUETZAL

49 to 52 o f the C e n tra l M exican Codex B orgia,

w in d

god

th a t is, Q u etzalco atl in his aspect as

god o f w in d .

In

L a te

Postclassic C en tra!

w h e re fo u r trees a re o rie n te d to the fo u r yearb earers and d ire c tio n a l gods. A

fifth ,

M exico , he typ ically appears w ith a red buccal

centra! tre e o f g ro w in g MAIZE appears on page

mask resem bling a duck beak, and shell JEWKLHY, including p a rtic u la rly his "w in d

53, h ere flan ked by Q U E T Z A L C O A T L and the green A h u iateo t! nam ed 5 M a lin a lli. In

je w e l," a pectoral form ed from the cut cross-

C en tra! M exican iconography the fo u r d ire c ­

section o f a conch w h o rl. A ccording to the m yth o f the F I V E S U N S , E h ecatl-Q u etzalco atl presided over the sun o f N ah u i E h ecatl, or 4 W in d , the w o rld destroyed by w inds. In A ztec m ythology, E h ecatl-Q u etzalco atl is also a

tio n al trees a re distinguished by species and by a p a rtic u la r a n im al, usually a b ird , a p p e a r­

g reat c u ltu re hero w ho creates the w o rld , hum ans, and MARE. Scenes in the Prehispanic Codex Vindobonensis reveal th a t 9 W in d , the M ix te e eq u iva len t o f E h ecatl-Q u etzalco atl, had a sim ilar role in M ix te e m ythology, See a V s o C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ;

M tX T E C C O D S .

w o rld trees In M esoam erican thought, the card in al D I R E C T I O N S w e re associated w ith a broad spectrum o f things fro m the n atu ra l and c u ltu ra l w orlds. O n e o f the most im p o rtan t and pervasive o f these em bodi­ m ents o f the directions w e re w o rld trees, each o rien ted to a specific d irectio n . These trees seem to express the fo u r fo ld n atu re o f a single g reat tre e , or axis m um #, located a t the cen ter o f the w o rld . Am ong the Yucatec M a y a , this c en tral tree was a yaxcAé (C e ib a spp.), the n atio n al tree o f m odern G u atem ala. W ith its roots in the U N D E R W O R L D and its branches in the heavens, this g re at tre e connected the planes o f S K Y , E A R T H , and U n d e rw o rld . In Yucatec, the term yaxcAé signifies first or green tre e . A lthough the concept o f firs t tree is e n tire ly a p t fo r the cosmic tre e a t the cen ter o f the w o rld , the referen ce to green is also a p p ro p riate; in

ing a t the top o f the tre e . O n page 1 o f the Codex F é je rv á ry -M a y e r, the fo u r d ire ctio n al trees app ear w ith th e ir accom panying birds, gods, days, and Y E A R B E A R E R S . T h e placing o f birds in w o rld trees is o f considerable a n tiq u ity in the M a y a region. A t L a te Classic P alen q u e, this m o tif occurs on the T a b le t o f the Cross, th e T a b le t o f the F o lia te d Cross, and th e sarcophagus lid fro m Pacal's tom b in the T e m p le o f th e In s crip ­ tions. Stela 25 fro m the Protoclassic site o f Iza p a , C hiapas, portrays a b ird ato p a tre e ­ lik e CAIMAN fo r a tru n k , p ro b ab ly a re fe ren c e to the spiny green tru n k o f th e yaxcAe. Iza p a S tela 5 bears one o f the m ost com plex representations o f a w o rld tre e eve r carved, b u t extensive erosion o f the m onum ent p ro ­ h ib its a clea r understanding o f this e a rly and im p o rta n t scene. See a/yo C R E A T IO N ACCO UNTS.

w ritin g C e rta in ly no la te r than 600 Be some M esoam erican peoples kn e w how to w rite , for by th a t d ate, carved inscriptions app ear a t San José M o g o te, O axaca. D u rin g the Protoclassic, w ritin g th riv e d and developed in V eracru z and O axaca, and a fe w carved m onum ents, such as the L a M o ja rra stela, re ve al th a t th e system w as fu lly developed, although it rem ains im p e n etrab le to m odern


187

WRITING

scholars. By the 1st c. Be com plex calendrics w ere inscribed in the M a y a area , w h ere M esoam erican w ritin g e ve n tu ally achieved its greatest sophistication. D u rin g the Classic p erio d , the M a y a w ro te in w h a t linguists called a "m ix e d " script, composed o f both phonetic syllables and logographs (th a t is, w ord pictures) th a t allow ed them to rep licate m ost o f the nuances of speech. T h e w ord ja g u a r, ba/am , could be w ritte n by a ja g u a r head, or by the phonetic syllables ba-7a-m a, w ith the 6 nal vow el silent, or even by a m ix o f the tw o, a ja g u a r head w ith a phonetic com plem ent, such as m a underneath, probably to m ake it p la in th a t the ha/am w ord was m eant fo r ja g u a r and not some o th er synonym . D u rin g the Postclassic, perhaps because o f the d earth o f public

The wind god Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl or 9 Wind in front of his wind temple, Nochistlan Vase, Late Postclassic Mixtee. The cut conch wind jewel of Quetzalcoatl can be seen on the thatched roof of the temple.

m onum ents, w ritin g g rew ever m ore phonetic and thus less accessible to those not train ed to read and w rite . A t the tim e o f the Conquest, the Spanish described w ritin g in both C e n tra l M exico and am ong the M a y a as the preserve o f P R IE S T S , and most w ritin g was considered sacred. F o r the Classic M a y a , lite ra c y was probably the province o f the n o b ility , b u t noble w om en m ay also have learn ed to read and w rite : a t least one noble w om an, L ad y A hau K atun of Piedras N egras, bore the title A hau K in , or lord sun, one o f the highest noble titles, probably in dicating h er lite rac y. A t T E O T i n u A C A N , despite w h at m ust have been a fa m ilia rity w ith M a y a script, there was little in terest in w ritin g , and even w hen it g rew m ore com m on in Postclassic C e n tra l M exico , fe w phonetic elem ents w ere added u n til a fte r the C onquest, w hen Precolum bian w ritin g flourished fo r several decades before dying out altogether.

World trees oriented to the four directions, Codex FejĂŠrvĂĄry-Mayer, p. 1, Late Postclassic period.

A ccording to sources from separate M esoam erican regions, the gods invented w ritin g . T h e M a y a a ttrib u te d the invention to rrzA M N A , w ho m ay be called ah dz/h, H e o f the W ritin g . In the POPOL vuH, the older brothers o f the H e ro T w in s , the M on key Scribes, are the patrons o f w ritin g and the arts. T h e Aztecs called w ritin g by a m etaphor, th /h "th e black, the re d ," w hich, as M ic h a e l Coe has suggested, m ay re fe r to a M a y a origin for C e n tra l M exican books and w ritin g , since th e surviving M a y a books are w ritte n in red and black w h ile the C e n tra l M exican ones a re not. <See a/so scMBAL CODS.

Writing: the Mayan word &a/am, meaning jaguar, could be written logographically (left), phonetically (right), or logographically with a phonetic complement (center).


KBALAKQLE

!M ing g la d ia to ria l com bat, o f w hich X ip e was also a p atro n . V ictorious w arrio rs donned the

gx

skins o f th e ir captives and w ore them fo r days, engaging in mock skirm ishes throughout T e n o c h titla n , begging alm s and then blessing

X h a la n q u e see cREATioNACCOL\Ts;popoLvm;

those w ho gave them food and offerings. T h e

TWINS

stinking sldns w e re w o rn fo r 20 days, by w h ich tim e they had n ea rly ro tten o?, and

X ib a lb a see UNDERWORLD

th en , or 20 days hence, throw n by some accounts in to a

X ip e T o te e X ip e T o te e , O u r L o rd the F la ye d

CAVE,

or by others in to

a

hole.

A t the tim e o f th e C onquest the X ip e

O n e , had achieved a targe c u lt fo llo w in g in

fes tiva l fe ll d u rin g the spring, in our m onth

C e n tra l M exico a t the tim e o f the C onquest,

o f M a rc h , and m uch o f its im ag ery suggests

and the c eleb ratio n o f his fe s tiv a l, T la ca xip e -

a g ric u ltu ra l re n e w a l: as a seed germ inates, it

h u a liz tli, re v e rb e ra te d beyond the norm al

feeds o ff the ro ttin g h u ll around it, Hnally

VENENA, or 20-d ay period. A lfonso Caso and Ignacio B ernal id e n tifie d X ip e w ith the Zap o ­

im personators w ore th e old skins u n til they

le ttin g

the n ew

shoot em erge. T h e X ip e

tee god Yopi and found him com m only re p ­

w e re ro tte n , w hen the young m an once again

resented in Classic period urns, and Sahagún

em erged, ^ee a/so DEITY IMPERSONATION.

a ttrib u te d his origins to the Zapotees. A m ong R ain. T h e celeb ratio n o f X ip e T o tee flourished

X iuhcoat! A ccording to A ztec accounts, the n ew ly born H U iT Z iL O P O C H T L i destroyed

along the G u lf Coast in the e arly Postclassic

coYOLXAUHQui and the C entzon H u itzn a h u a

b efo re gaining a p rom inent place in the A ztec pantheon, probably as a result o f the A ztec dom ination o f the G u lf Coast a fte r the fam ines o f the m id -15th c. A ccording to A ztec

as illu s tra te d on a fra g m e n ta ry C oyolxauhqui sculpture excavated a t the T em p lo M a y o r.

the M ixtees, X ip e was know n as the god 7

sources, X ip e was born in the first genesis o f the gods, and is id e n tifie d also as the Red TEZCATLÍPOCA.

M ost X ip e figures v iv id ly depict a hum an inside the Hayed skin o f another m an, the extra Hayed hands hanging lik e m ittens. C h aracteristic v ertical stripes run from fo re ­ head to chin, running over or broken by the eyes. Puckered and bubbled, the Hayed skin usually displays an incision w h ere the HEART was rem oved; the penis is absent; the skin is elab o ra te ly tied on a t the back. C onceptually, the Hayed skin m ay suggest a g lo rified fo re ­ skin. Some A ztec stone sculptures m ay have been a ttire d in a Hayed hum an skin. G oldsm iths regarded X ip e T o tee as th e ir p atro n , and they m ade rich offerings a t his TEMPLE, Yopico, w ith in the T em plo M a y o r. D u rin g the T la c a x ip e h u a liztli fes tiva l, a m an donned the skin o f a slain CAPTIVE, w hich the goldsm iths liken ed to a golden sheathing, and they adorned the im personator w ith red spoonbill feathers and golden je w e lry . X ip e also had the pow er to cure eye ailm en ts, and offerings w ere m ade to him a t Yopico by those w ho sought m iraculous cures. T la c a x ip e h u a liztli, usually calculated as the th ird vem fena o f the solar year, began w ith th e Haying o f captives o f w a r, usually fo llo w -

w ith a Hery

SERPENT

know n as the X iu h co atl,

L ik e the b e tte r know n C oyolxauhqui m onu­ m en t discovered in 1978, this was o rig in a lly a g re at stone disk d ep ictin g the slain C oyolxauhqui. H o w e v e r, in this case, the X iu hco atl serpent a ctu ally p en etrates the chest o f the goddess, w ith the body and tasseled ta il p ro jectin g ou t o f th e w ound. in A ztec iconography, the X iu h c o atl typ ­ ically has a sharply b ack-tu rn in g snout, a segm ented body, and a ta il resem bling the trap e ze-an d -ray yea r sign. This ta il device p robably does re fe r to the y e a r sign; x ih u ii/ signiHes " y e a r," "tu rq u o is e ," and "grass" in N a h u a tl, and in m any cases the ta il is m arked w ith the sign fo r grass, p a ra lle l rods tip p ed w ith c ircu lar elem ents. D o u b le and trip le kno tted strips o f P A P E R (som etim es called "b o w -tie s ") w ra p the Hre serpent's body and lin k it to S A C R IF IC E and B L O O D L E T T I N G . D u rin g the Postclassic p erio d , the X iu hco atl appears w ith a ll th ree concepts: T U R Q U O IS E , grass, and the vague solar y ea r (see C A L E N D A R ) . O n page 46 o f th e C odex B orgia, fo u r smoking X iu hco atl serpents surround a b u rning tu r­ quoise m irro r. S im ilar turqu o ise-rim m ed MIR R O R S are know n fro m E a rly Postclassic T u la (see T O L L A N ) and C h ich en Itz a , w h ere fou r Xiuhcoatls in turquoise mosaic circle the m irro r rim . T h e a tla n te a n w a rrio r columns from M o u n d B a t T u la w e a r precisely this


189

XIUHTECUHTL]

type o f m irro r upon th e ir backs. In this case, the bodies o f the fo u r sm oking serpents disp!ay the grass m o tif o f p a ra lle l lines tip p ed w ith dots. T h e association o f the X iu h co atl w ith tu r­ quoise, grass and the solar yea r relates to its essential m eaning o f FERE and solar h eat. Turquoise, d ry grass, and the vague year w ere a ll id e n tifie d w ith Ere in Postclassic C en tra! M exico. T h e X iu hco atl is em blem atic o f the C en tra! M exican god o f Ere, x i u H T E c u H T L i , the Turquoise L o rd . T h e X iu hco atl w ield ed by the n ew ly born H u itzilo p o c h tli represents the Eery rays o f the SUN dispelling the forces o f darkness. A lthough the X iu hco atl can be read ily traced back to E a rly Postclassic T u la , its u ltim a te origins are still obscure. N o n e th e ­ less, the TEOTiHUACAN W a r S erpent probably constitutes an ancestral form o f the X iu hco atl; in Classic period iconography, the WAR SERPENT appears w ith Barnes, the grass m o tif, and the trap e ze-an d -ray year sign, ^ee a/so TEOTiHUACAN CODS.

( The Hayed god, Xipe Totee. (LeA) Xipe impersonator dressed in a human skin, Florentine Codex, Book 2, 16th c. Aztec. (AgAf) Aztec sculpture of Xipe, Late Postclassic period.

X iu h te c u h tli A C e n tra l M exican god o f FIRE, X iu h te c u h tli overlaps w ith the aged Ere god, HUEHUETEOTL. According to the F lo re n tin e Codex, H u eh u ete o tl was b u t another e p ith et o f X iu h te c u h tli. B u t w hereas H u eh u ete o tl is depicted as a m arkedly aged being, X iu h te ­ c u h tli displays no indications o f inErm old age: he is strongly identiE ed w ith youthful w arrio rs and rulership. T h e nam e X iu h te cu h tli signiEes Turquoise L o rd , and he usually appears rich ly bedecked in TURQUOISE mosaic, the x /u A u ffzo ///c ro w n o f rulership, and a turquoise pectoral often in the form o f a stylized BUTTERFLY. X iu h te cu h tli com m only w ears a descending turquoisecolored b ird , the xiu A fo fo f/ (C ofrnga am aM u s ), against his brow and the XIUHCOATL Ere serpent on his back. M a n y o f these turquoise costum e elem ents o f X iu h te cu h tli appear together on E a rly Postclassic To!tec w arrio rs, and are also associated w ith the MORTUARY BUNDLES o f A ztec w arrio rs, as illu strate d in the Codex M ag liab ech iano . H o w ev er, clear depictions o f X iu h te c u h tli a re not com mon u n til the L a te Postclassic period. T h e depic­ tion o f X iu h te cu h tli on page 49 o f the Codex D resden constitutes a rare M a y a exam ple o f this C en tra! M exican being. T h e accom pany­ ing M a y a hieroglyphic text p h o netically nam es him cAac ja u fe i, a close gloss to the N ah u a tl X iu h te cu h tli.

Fragment of a monument depicting a Xiuhcoatl serpent tearing open the chest of Coyolxauhqui, Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan.

Xiuhtecuhtli, the Central Mexican god of Ere and time, Florentine Codex, Book 1, 16th c. Aztec.


XOCHIPILLI

190

!n N a h u a tl, x /A u /t/ signifies y e a r as w e ll as turquoise, and according to a n u m b er o í

by the H u rrz iL O P O C H T L i im personator before his sacrifice d u ring the feast o f Tnxcatl

sources, X iu h te c u h tli was th e god o f the y e a r, and by extension, o f tim e its e lf. In th e 2 60-d ay CALENDAR, X iu h te c u h tli serves as th e p atro n o f th e day A t! and the

TRECENA

I C o a tí.

X o lo tl A ltho u g h liv in g in in tim a te p ro xim ity to hum ans, the Doc breaks on a d a ily basis m any basic social conventions observed by p eo p le; perhaps fo r this reason, dogs w ere

X o c h ip illi

m eans

considered filth y and im m o ral in M eso am er-

" F lo w e r P rin c e ," is closely id e n tifie d w ith

X o c h ip illi,

w hose

nam e

ica. T h e canine god X o lo tl em bodies m any o f

M a c u ilx o c h itl, 5 F lo w e r, one o f th e

A H u iA T E -

the characteristics ascribed to them . This

TEO, or gods o f excess. Sahagún a ttrib u te s to

C e n tra l M ex ica n god appears to have served

X o c h ip illi the m e tin g ou t o f hem orrhoids,

as the naA uaM , o r d o u ble, o f QUETZALCOATL, and he accom panied Q u etzalcoat! in his d e ­

ven erea! disease and

boils to those w ho

v io la te tim es o f fasting w ith sexual in te r­

scent to the UNDERWORLD to re trie v e the bones

course, b u t he is also a god o f p ositive crea tive

o f m an kin d . As th e canine com panion o f

FLOW ERS,

Q u etzalco at!, X o lo tl w ears the cut conch pec­

dancing, feasting, p ain tin g , and g am e-p lay ­

to ral and o th e r costum e elem ents o f E h ecatl-

ing. Because o f his g en e rativ e pow ers, he is

Q u e tza lc o a tl. A ltho u g h the fa ith fu l assistant and com ­

energies, and as such is a p atro n o f

also closely linked to ciNTEOTL, the young m aize god. X o c h ip illi was feted e a rly in the

panion to the g re at c u ltu re hero Q u etzalcoat!,

grow ing season, d u rin g T e c u ilh u ito n tli, w hen his im personator (see DMTY IMPERSONATION) was

X o lo tl w as also id e n tifie d w ith sickness and physical DEFORMITY. In th e codices, he com ­

sacrificed. See a/so VEINTENA.

m only displays a ragged-edged e a r, g en e rally

Xochiquctza! L ite ra lly " F lo w e r Q u e tz a l," Xochiquetza! epitom ized young fem ale sexual

believed to be due to the ru n n in g sores w hich often occur on dogs' ears. T h e nam e X o lo tl relates to concepts o f TWINS and d e fo rm ity . In

p ow er, FLOWERS, and pleasure, and in this reg ard , was re late d to the AiiuiATETEO and excess. B ut she was also a patroness o f w eavers and the arts practiced by noble­ w om en; she presided over c h ild b irth and pregnancy and served as the g uardian o f the young m other. In these w ays she bears relatio n ship to Toci, TLAZOLTEOTL, and the o th er m other goddesses, b u t u n like those fem ale deities, X o chiquetzal rem ained ever young and b e a u tifu l, e ver a llu rin g . D epictions g en erally show h er in luxurious a ttire and w earin g COLD ornam ents. T h e p atro n o f the T R E C E N A 1 X ó c h itl, X ochi­ q u etzal was fe te d d u rin g the VEINTENA H u e y p ach tli, especially by the practitioners o f luxury arts - m etalsm iths, sculptors, p ainters, w eavers, feath erw o rkers and em broiderers, in p a rtic u la r - w ho presented a w om an to im personate the goddess (see D E IT Y iM P E R S O N A T i O N ) . A fte r P R IE S T S sacrificed and flayed h er, a m an donned the skin and fancy a ttire , sat a t a loom , and p reten ded to w eave, w h ile the m aster craftspeople danced around in costumes o f M O N K E Y S , J A G U A R S , D O G S , coyotes, and pum as. Subsequently the w orshippers con­ fessed th e ir sins to h er idol through p en ite n tia l tongue BLOODLETTING and com pleted th e ir atonem ent w ith a ritu a l bath. A X ochiquetzal im personator was one o f the four brides taken

N a h u a tl, xo/ocAam signifies " to w rin k le or double o v e r," and in fa c t X o lo tl is fre q u e n tly d epicted w ith a d eep ly fu rro w e d face. H o w ­ e ver, the w o rd x o /o f/ also fre q u e n tly refers to tw in n ed objects in N a h u a tl; thus the term fo r a doubled M A izc p la n t is xo/o% and doubled MAGUEY, m exo/oi/. In Postclassic C e n ­ tra l M exico , tw ins w e re fe a re d m uch lik e m onstrous b irth s o r d efo rm itie s. A ccording to Tezozom oc, DWARVES AND HUNCHBACKS w e re term ed xo/orne and the nam e m ay explain w h y xoA?%7 also signified a c o u rtly page, since dw arves, hunchbacks and o th e r p h ysically deform ed in d ivid u als o fte n served in the palace court. T h e id e n tific a tio n o f the dog w ith tw in n in g and d efo rm itie s is o f g re at a n tiq u ity in M eso am erica: tw o -h ead ed dogs are com m only found in the Protoclassic cer­ am ic sculpture o f W est M exico . X o lo tl plays an im p o rta n t ro le in c ertain A ztec accounts o f the creation o f the h fth sun a t T E O T I H U A C A N (see C R E A T IO N A C C O U N T S ) . A ccording to Sahagún, d u rin g th e S A C R IF IC E o f the gods a t th e firs t d aw n in g , X o lo tl unsuc­ cessfully tries to escape by firs t tu rn in g in to the doubled m aize p la n t, then the doubled m exo/oif, or m aguey, and fin a lly the sala­ m ander know n as th e axoVoi/, or " w a te r x o lo tl." H o w e v e r, in the M e n d ie ta account o f this mass sacrifice, X o lo tl is described as


191

YEARBEARERS

the sacriRcer ra th e r than the victim . In codica! depictions o f the TRECENA 1 C ozcacuauhtli, Xo!ot! holds the F L IN T blade o f sacriEce. H e also serves as the patron o f the day O llin .

Y acatecuhtli see MERCHANTS yahui Am ong the m ore im p o rtan t supernaturals appearing in the Postclassic M ix te e codices is a character w earin g a x iu H C O A T L serpent headdress and ta il and the shell o f a upon his body. As an in dication of its Eery n atu re, the X iuhcoatl occasionally sprouts Earning volutes from the head and ta il. A t tim es, the Egure carries a conch tru m p et and FLINT blades in his hands; in m any instances he appears Eying or in the role o f a sacriEcer tearin g the H E A R T out o f a victim . M a ry E lizab e th Sm ith has noted th a t

TURTLE

in the Codex M u ro and Codex Sanchez-Solis, this tu rtle -E re -s erp e n t character is nam ed yahui. In the C olonial M ix te e A lvarad o D ic tio n a ry, y a h u i is deRned as a certain w izard th a t can Ey through the a ir. A ccording to Sm ith, this Eying y a h u i m ay be id en tical to one o f the tw o sons born to the creator couple 1 D e e r. Am ong the M ixtees, the y a h u i m ay have been the com panion s p irit o f p o w erfu l trans­ fo rm atio n al sorcerers, much like the nah u a/h sorcerers o f C e n tra l M exico (see N A H U A L ). O ne o f the most com m on com panion spirits o f M esoam erican sorcerers is lightning, w hich provides the SHAMAN w ith rap id Eight and o m nipotent pow er. T h e y a h u i m ay allu d e to both L IG H T N IN G A N D T H U N D E R . W hereas his a b ility to Ey, the Ere serpent a ttrib u tes, and the E int blades m ay re fe r to lightning, the tu rtle shell and conch could be allusions to thu n d er-m akin g instrum ents. A lthough the y a h u i character is found w id e ly in M ixte e codices, he was probably borrow ed from the Zapotees. T h e serpent and tu rtle shell y a h u i

Xolotl, patron of the day Ollin, in the form of a diseased ahmafeof/, Codex Borgia, p. 10, Late Postclassic period.

o fte n occurs in Zapotee iconography and appears in ceram ic a rt as e arly as M o n te A lb an u. yearbearers T o distinguish one 365-d ay year from

another

in

the

5 2 -ye ar

CALENDAR,

M esoam erican peoples nam ed each year a fte r a p a rtic u la r day in the coincident 260day calendar. These days are called yea r-

Flying yahui with Eint knives in its hands, Codex Nuttall, Late Postclassic Mixtee.


YEAKBEAHEHS

1M

bearers A m ong the Postclassic M a y a o f Yuca­

In C e n tra l M exico , the L a te C la n tc w ritin g

tan . the y e a rb e a re r occurred on the first day

o f Xochicalco indicates a y ea rb ea rer w ith

o f the solar y ea r, w h ile the A ztecs nam ed the 260-d ay

a looped cord. In fu ll-fig u re form s o f this convention, it can be seen th a t the cord is a

c alen d ar fa ilin g on the 360th day o f th e 3 65 day calen d ar.

as if th e y e a r w e re a burden to be supported.

th e ir years a fte r th e day in

tu m p lin e or sling fo r carryin g the year glyph,

T o caic u late the y e a rb e a re r in e ith e r sys­

T h e looped cord convention also occurs at the

tem req uires tw o basic calculations re la tin g

contem poraneous sites o f C e n tra ! M exican T eotenango d el V a lle and M a ltra ta , V eracru z.

the

260 -d a y

(1 3 x 20)

and

365-d ay

(18 x 20 + 5 ) calendars. F irs t, d iv id in g th e

A t E a rly Postclassic T u la , the looped cord

nu m b er o f day nam es, 20, in to 365 yields a

occurs as th e tu m p lin e b orne by an old man

re m ain d e r o f 5; thus fo r each successive solar

carryin g

yea r, the day nam es m ove 6ve places fo rw a rd .

M ixtees, y e a rb e a re r dates w e re designated

the year. A m ong th e Postclassic

A fte r fo u r years, the day nam ing the y ea r

by the MEXICAN YEAR SIGN. In th e ir books, the

has m oved 20 places, re tu rn in g it to the

A ztecs m arked the y ea r by placing it in a

o rig in al day nam e th a t started the series, so

tu rq u o ise-b lu e square, a convention w ith a

only fo u r days can be yearb earers. Second,

ling u istic base: in N a h u a tl jn7nMf/ signifies

d iv id in g the d ay num bers, 13, in to 365 leaves

"tu rq u o is e " as w e ll as " y e a r." A m ong the

a re m ain d e r o f 1. So w h ile the day nam es

M a y a , despite th e ir use o f the y e a rb e a re r

progress by five each year, the num erals

system , th e re is no know n y e a rb e a re r sign,

increase by one u n til reaching 13 w hen they begin again. F o r the 16th c. Aztecs, the o rd er

possibly because fo r recording history the M a y a favo red units o f the Long C o u n t ra th e r

o f the 52 years ran as follow s: 2 A ca tl, 3 T e c p a tl, 4 C a lli, 5 T o c h tli, 6 A catl, and so on,

than th e succession o f yearb earers. T h e p a rtic u la r fo u r days selected as y e a r­

u n til the final year o f 1 T o c h tli, w hich w ould then be follow ed by 2 A ca tl, the first year o f the next 5 2-ye ar cycle.

bearers v arie d w id e ly in M eso am erica. T h e most com m on sequence was th e 3 rd , 8 th ,

Y earbearers often bore special signs to cue the re ad er to the m eaning. Am ong the Classic period Zapotees, a headband containing a cross in the form o f a diadem signaled y ea rb ea rer dates. T h is convention occurred as e a rly as M o n te A lbán i and appears on Stela 12. a m onum ent th a t dates to c.500 BC.

13th, and 18th day nam es, corresponding to C a lli (H o u s e), T o c h tli (R a b b it), A c a tl (R e ed ), and T e c p a tl (F lin t) in the A zte c series o f day nam es. T h is series is found a t Xochicalco, Teotenango d el V a lle , M a ltra ta , am ong the PostclassicToltecs, M ixtees, A ztecs, and o th er peoples o f h ig h lan d M ex ico , and in the Paris and D resd en codices o f the Postclassic Yuca-


193

YO KE

tec M a y a . H o w ev er, am ong the Zapotees and in neighboring G u e rrero , the yearbearers w ere the 2nd, 7th , 12th, and 17th day nam es. D u rin g the L a te Postclassic, some Yucatec M a y a used yet another yea rb ea rer system , in this case, the 4th , 9th , 14th, and 19th day nam es, corresponding to K an , M u lu c , lx , and Cauac.

a/so CARCO.

yoke A yoke (som etim es know n by the Span足 ish w ord yugo), the U -shaped elem en t o f the BALLGAME costum e, was w orn around the w aist to d eflect blows from the cen ter o f the body. Slipped on sideways, the fro n t, back, and one side o f the body w ere alw ays protected. H undreds, if not thousands, o f stone ballgam e yokes have been found in tombs along the V eracru z coast and the Pacihc slope o f G u a te 足 m ala, alm ost exclusively from the Classic period, and they have also been recovered from surface rem ains at Copan and Palenque. M ost stone yokes w eigh 2 5 -3 5 lb (c. 1 1 .5 15.5 kg), and although a train ed player could m ove w earin g one, these stone yokes w ere probabiy reserved for cerem onial use, p er足 haps as a sort o f trophy - stone versions o f w h a t was probably a w ooden piece o f p ro tective arm or. A few have no opening and could not have been w orn. M a n y , p artic u la rly those from V eracru z, bear com plicated icon足 ography that is d ifficu lt to decipher w ith o u t a m odern d raw in g . Com m on im agery includes TO A D S , sacrificial victim s, and T U E R TO S . <See a/so HACHA.

Toltec representation of a yearbearer Hint; the figure carries the year 11 Flint. Tula, Early Postclassic period.

The stone yokes associated with the ballgame can be either enclosed or open-ended, Classic Veracruz.


Guide to Sources and Bibliography

The reader may well wonder how the authors have come to the contusions presented in this book. The sources for the Precolumbian past in Mesoamerica are many and diverse, and the piecing together of gods, iconography, and meaning rare!y depends on just a single source but rather on the more convincing evidence that comes from Ending patterns that are reflected in archaeology or ethnohistory. In genera), we have made direct citations in this book on)y from 16th c. sources, and we have tried to attribute important post-1950 discoveries to those responsible. The following discussion and bibhography are by no means exhaustive or complete (and the reader is advised to look etsewhere for a history of Mesoamerican archaeology*) but what follows is a description of sources, how they have come down to us, and how scholars have come to understand them. Prehispanic Books Despite the concerted effort by religious and civil authorities to destroy any native manifestation of "idolatry" after the Conquest, a number of Prehispanic books screenfolds of deerskin or Eg paper painted with Ene brushes - have survived. Some were shipped to Europe before the zeal to destroy overcame the conquerors, while others were hidden for generations and came to tight in the 19th c. Of primary importance for studying gods and symbols is the Borgia group of manuscripts, named after the largest and Enest among them. Although it may have been painted in Puebla or Cholula or perhaps even in Veracruz, the Codex Borgia is the best surviving example of a Centra! Mexican book, containing a divinatory 260-day calendar, sections on yearbearers and Venus, and a long, poorly understood section ("middle pages") that depicts the journey of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca to the nadir of the Underworld. Other manuscripts in the Borgia group lack these middle pages, but all share a similar style and a similar constellation of gods. Most are named for their original collector and all reside in European libraries: Borgia, Laud, FejĂŠrvĂĄry-Mayer, Cospi, and the Vaticanus B. Donald Robertson demonstrated that the Codex Borbonicus, long thought to be a Prehispanic book, was made after the Conquest, but probably before 1530; its Erst part, a tonalamatl, or 260-day calendar, replicates a luxurious Aztec model. Because of the size and detail of the Borbonicus, it offers one of the best guides to trecena patrons and veintena festivals. Several Mixtee Prehispanic codices have survived, perhaps because of their predominantly historical and genealogical content, or it may simply be that * For histones of Mesoamerican archaeology, the reader should consult Bernal 1962, Adams 1969, Bernal 1960, and Willey and Sablolf 1980. The history of the recognition of art in the New World is treated in Kubler 1990. See Keen 1971 and Boone 1987 for a consideration of Aztec historiography; for the Maya, see Scheie and Miller 1986, Miller 1989. Coe 1992 and Stuart 1992.


195

CUIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

manuscripts treating other subjects were usually destroyed. New genealogies in Prehispanic style continued to be made during the 16th c. and Prehispanic manuscripts received continued annotation after the Conquest. Some were later presented in Colonia! courts as evidence in cases involving land tenure; owners scraped manuscripts of all "idolatrous" imagery in order that they be accepted by the court as evidence, and as a result, a manuscript like the Bodley was badly mutilated. The best preserved of the Mixtee books are the Selden, Nuttal!, Colombino, Bodley, and the Vindobonensis (or Vienna), and several are kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Of these the Vindobonensis is the richest source for Mixtee gods. No Prehispanic Zapotee manuscripts survive. Four Maya screenfolds - the Dresden, Madrid, Paris, and Grolier - escaped the bonfires of Diego de Landa, the Franciscan later tried for excessive zeal in enforcing the notorious anfo da /e in ManĂ­, Yucatan. The Grolier may have been written several centuries before the Conquest, but the others were probably painted within 100 years of the Spanish arrival. The Dresden Codex is a particularly important source for studying the gods and religious practices of Late Postclassic Yucatan. Yucatec scribes wrote these books with texts in red and black pigments and illustrated them with pictures of gods and rituals in the same colors. Sixteenth-century European Sources Sixteenth-century sources provide the most broad and accurate descriptions of Mesoamerican life, and some of these, such as the Second Letter of Cortes to King Charles V or the much later Discovery and Conguest of Mex/co by Bernal Diaz offer vivid eye-witness descriptions of the Aztecs and their neighbors, their cities, temples, and gods. Without such accounts, we would know nothing about such things as the elaborate cuisine prepared for Motecuhzoma II or the sort of zoo for exotic animals that he kept or the nature and abundance of the Aztec marketplace. From across all Europe Charles V called Apostolic Twelves from various Catholic religious orders - Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians - to carry out the conversion of New Spain, or Mexico, as the Spaniards soon began to call the land. ("Mexico" is a corruption of Mexica-Tenochtitlan, the Aztec name for their capita! city.) Educated men truly interested in the land and people, these first friars soon began to make systematic records of the New World, largely in order to speed conversion and to understand the language and religion of the people they sought to bring under control. Among the authors of the 16th c. sources, one name stands above all others: Father Bernardino de Sahagun, a Franciscan friar who arrived just a few years after the original Twelve, but who knew most of them and drew on their experiences as well as his own. Sahagun devoted his life to understanding the Aztecs and their neighbors in the Valley of Mexico. He became fluent in Nahuat! and wrote dozens of sermons in it that his minions then preached throughout the countryside. But, most importantly, he began to gather systematically the knowledge of the Precolumbian world and to present it in volumes along the lines of a late medieval encyclopedia. A preliminary effort, the Primeros Memoriales (sometimes known as the Codices Matritenses), was finished in 1560 or so, but his lifework, the Genera/ L&sfory of tAe TA/ngs of New Spain, was completed and produced in subsequent decades. Usually known as the Florentine Codex, the name given to the sole surviving holograph (considered subversive, other copies sent to Spain were confiscated and presumably destroyed by Spanish authorities), the 12-volume work is a major encyclopedia assembled by


GLIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

!M

Sahagun and a troop of Nahuatl-speaking nobles, and the text is written in parallel columns of Nahuat! and Spanish. The work treats the gods, rehgion, history, temples and cities, ceremonies, omens, auguries, natura! history, cosmography, mora! rhetoric, calendar; describes different ethnic groups; and relates the Conquest itse!f, as to!d from the native point of view. A separate Spanish-only text a!so survives. Despite the !ens of the Spanish Conquest, the Florentine Codex is the single greatest source for understanding the native New World. Anonymous authors, including friars and natives, also made other early records probably in the Brst generation after the Conquest - of Aztec gods and religion that survive only as fragments: i&sfor/a c/e /os mexicanos por sus pmfuras, Leyenda de /os so/es, and Zd/sfoyre du meciuque. These extremely important texts recount the deities, religion, and cosmography and describe now-lost manuscripts, probably as presented to the friars by Aztec interlocutors. Many other friars wrote important documents for understanding the Conquest and the social environment of the 16th c., but they offered only a few insights into the religious iconography of the past. The well-known Dominican, BartolomĂŠ de Las Casas, for example, wrote lengthy tracts describing indigenous conditions and advocating social reform, but offers little information on Mesoamerican gods not expounded more explicitly elsewhere. Toward the end of the century, two major efforts at documentation were completed. First, in 1577 Philip II conducted a census of New Spain, demanding that each province answer 50 questions about its people, wealth, geography, local administration, religious practices, and provide a map. Six years later, most of these re/ac/onesgeogrĂĄ/?cas were completed, many with the assistance of native informants. In this same period, Diego Duran, a Berce Dominican priest who both loved Mexico and lamented the tenacity of native religion, completed a series of important studies known today as 77?e Boo/r of f/?e Cods and 77?e Anc/enf Ca/endar, and 77?e L&sfory of f/?e /hd/es; the last is the most comprehensive history of the Aztec state. The friars concentrated on the Valley of Mexico, so it is little wonder that few records survive for other regions. Diego de Landa wrote his Z?e/ac/dn de /as cosas de Fucafan in the 1560s while awaiting trial in Spain for his overenthusiastic enforcement of the Inquisition. Although this document is extremely useful - Landa, for example, wrote down the 30 characters in Maya phonetic, syllabic script that led eventually to the phonetic decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing - it lacks the richness of detail that characterizes the Centra! Mexican documents. In the 17th c., Father Francisco de Burgoa made an important record of the Zapotees, although nothing comparable survives for the Mixtees. Native Documents after the Conquest After the Spanish Conquest, native scribes worked for their new masters and made dozens of manuscripts that survive, even though far more were lost. Some books took on new content to suit the audience: religious iconography was spelled out in order that a priest recognize his enemy; histories recounted peregrinations of different ethnic groups, partly in order to express grievances regarding land distribution or privileges; and native books turned up in Colonial legal proceedings. The Spanish commissioned tribute records to assess the wealth of their colony and maps to guide them to its sources. Many books required a hybrid effort: native scribes painted the illustrations and Europeans added interpretive glosses. Where Mesoamericans learned to represent their languages in the European alphabet, they began to write books of their own in this new system, occasionally transcribing an


197

CUÍDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOCRAPH1

ancient picture book, as in the case of the Popo/ VuA. As the 16th c. progressed, the Spanish Crown passed from Charles V to Philip II, who had less desire to understand Mesoamerica and less patience with the eclectic sort of books made there: his subordinates must have destroyed the missing copies of Sahagun's encyclopedia, although he did commission the Pe/aciones geográFcas, completed in 1583. After the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, Spain wanted little from her colonies but precious minerals. By the end of the 16th c., 90 percent of the indigenous population had died; the generation that had known Preconquest life was gone, and sympathetic friars had generally given way to less educated priests dependent on local Colonial patronage. The Crown forbade foreigners (i.e. non-Spanish born) to visit the colonies. The Precolumbian past was passively abandoned or actively destroyed. The major groups of 16th c. native or hybrid works can be roughly classiBed as follows (some are written on native paper, others on European paper; a /lenzo is painted on cloth; the catalogue in the Handbook o í Afidd/e American indians, particularly Glass 1975, should be consulted): MAPs: including Plano en Papel de Maguey, Mapa de Coatlinchan, Mapas de Cuauhtinchan, Mapa Quinatzin, Mapa de Santa Cruz, among others H iSTO RiCAL/R EUG ious CHRONICLES: including Relación de Michoacán, Codex Boturini, Codex Mendoza, part 1, Lienzo de Tlaxcala (orig. lost), Historia ToltecaChichimeca, the Popol Vuh TRIBUTE LiSTs: Codex Mendoza, part 2 , and Matricula de Tributos D E S C R I P T I O N S O F F E S T I V A L S A N D CUSTOMS: including the Codex Magliabechiano and its group; the paired manuscripts Codex Telleriano-Remensis and Codex Rios, or Vaticanus A; the Tovar Calendar; and Codex Mendoza, part 3 Other manuscripts, including an herbal, Codex Badianus, written in Latin by a learned Nahuatl speaker, survive from the 16th c., but few have played a seminal role in the decipherment of Mesoamerican gods and symbols. Some later Colonial sources, including Tezozómoc's Crónica mexicana (c. 1600), Torquemada's MonarcAia indiana (c. 1613), Chimalpahin's Pe/aciones (c. 1625), Ixtlilxochitl's .Relaciones and Historia cAicAimeca, and the various Mayan Books of Chilam Balam (all 18th c.) include information not available from other sources. The End of the Spanish Colonial Era Perhaps in response to the general intellectual climate of the Enlightenment, Charles III of Spain took a renewed scientiBc interest in the Americas and the Prehispanic past, and so inaugurated the modern era in Mesoamerican studies. In 1786, he sent out explorers to document Palenque, Chiapas, and at the beginning of the 19th c., his son, Charles IV, commissioned further study of abandoned archaeological sites, their merit and contents, including Monte Alban and Mitla. The Mexican scholar José Antonio Alzate published drawings and commentary on El Taj in and Xochicalco. The German nobleman and scholar Alexander von Humboldt was granted leave to carry out scientiBc study in the Spanish colonies, resulting in his 1810 Vues des cordd/éres et monuments des peup/e indigenes de /Amengüe. By the time of Mexican independence, the regional styles of Mesoamerican art and the presence of different gods and religious practices began to be recognized. In 1790 and 1791, when workmen uncovered three Aztec monoliths, the Stone of Tizoc, the Calendar Stone, and the large Coatlicue, they were preserved rather than


CLIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBHOCRAPHY

destroyed, and the scholar Antonio Léon y Gama began deciphering their meaning He was the Erst student to puMish accurate, measured drawings of Aztec religious art. Although he thought the Calender Stone to be a true calendar, recording hours, days, weeks, months, years, and other cycles, a reading no longer tenable, he nevertheless correctly identified many symbols and gods (while misidentifying others), and we may consider Léon y Gama s efforts as the first scientific study of Mesoamerican iconography. Following the Mexican declaration of independence in 1810 and the withdrawal of Spanish authority in 1821 (and the independence oL Centra! America in 1825, opening up yet more lands), European, North American, and Mexican investigators surged across the countryside, exploring, studying, and collecting evidence of the past. And when the Spanish left, they took with them quantities of documents, including, for example, the works of Diego Durán. The Precolumbian past and the sophisticated cultures whose wreckage lay on and under the ground puzzled its 19th c. students and many offered fantastic explanations, some of which the Spanish had already put forth, such as the notion that Mesoamerican civilization was founded by the Lost Tribes of Israel or by strayed Egyptians (see Wauchope 1962). Soon Atlantis, India, China, and Africa were added to the stew; the Mormons saw Mesoamerican civilization as the locus for a separate resurrection of Christ. Authors argued about the possibility for high civilization to have flourished at all in Mesoamerica, but by the end of the century there was near-universal consensus among scholars that it had, that there was more time depth and antiquity than previously thought, and more diversity of cultures; among competing explanations, the idea that these cultures had grown up in the New World without Old World stimuli began to take root. John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood explored what are now Guatem­ ala, Belize, Honduras, and the Mexican states of Chiapas, Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo in 1839-42, documenting dozens of Maya cities with lively descriptions and generally accurate illustrations. Unlike most of their contemporaries, they believed that the living Maya descended from the city-builders, and they recognized the uniformity of Maya writing across the vast geographic realm they traveled. They had no reason to believe that the cities had been abandoned any earlier than the time of the Conquest and so knew nothing of the antiquity of Maya cities. Stephens' four volumes were bestsellers; they went through dozens of editions and printings, perhaps creating the Erst large audience of armchair archaeologists in history, and they undoubtedly sparked interest in those who would later be scholars of ancient Mesoamerica. Between 1831 and 1846, Edward King, Lord Kingsborough, drove himself into bankruptcy by bankrolling and publishing nine elephantine folios of facsimile reproductions of Precolumbian and Postconquest Mesoamerican codices and manu­ scripts known in European collections. Despite some serious handicaps - the copyist Agostino Aglio misinterpreted unfamiliar imagery and inevitably changed details in his interpretations of the manuscripts, and the enormous volumes could be bought only by major libraries or by the very wealthy - for the Erst time, the rich iconography in these books could be consulted widely, and dozens of Precolumbian sculptures were also illustrated. With this documentation, scholars could assemble and study the temples, books and gods of Mesoamerica, from Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan in the north, on through Xochicalco, El Tajin, Monte Albán, and Mitla, to the Maya sites in the south.


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Aztec history had been described many times by the 19th c., but the American historian William H. Prescott wrote what we might call the first "modern" history of the Aztecs, a 3-volume study published in 1843, using voluminous sources, particularly Precolumbian and early Postconquest manuscripts, to build a picture of the Aztecs that included their religious life. Sahagun's works began to be rediscovered, and a 3-volume Spanish edition of the Genera/ ARsfory text was published in 182930. And as museums around the world were founded, Mesoamerican antiquities began to receive a permanent, stable home; Founded in 1825, the Mexican National Museum has always housed the world s largest collection of Aztec antiquities. By the end of the century, the Trocadero, British Museum, American Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Institution, among others, would all amass signiBcant collections of Mesoamerican materials. At mid-century, several scholars competed to collect Precolumbian and Colonial manuscripts, prying them loose from archives, churches, and small towns. In the 18th c., Lorenzo Boturini had bought some 500 manuscripts before xenophobic Spanish ofBcals deported him, confiscated the collection and then let it be dismantled. J. M. A. Aubin spent a decade collecting manuscripts around Mexico City and succeeded in reassembling many pieces of the Boturini corpus, which he then took to Paris in 1840 and spent the rest of his life studying. In Mexico, despite his antipathy for the Aztecs, Joaquín Garcia Icazbalceta assembled previously unpublished documents relating to Mexico's history and began publishing them in 1858. Considering himself Aubin's heir, Abbé Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg traveled among the Maya and sought out manuscripts and documents that he hoped would unravel their past. His perserverance and luck led him to make several important discoveries: first, in Guatemala, he came upon the 18th c. copy of the 16th c. Popo/ FuA, translated it into French and published it; then, back in Spain, he found the Madrid Codex and a copy of Landa's Pe/ac/on and published them as well. Brasseur's discoveries ushered in a new phase of study, in which 16th c. commentaries were used to decipher Precolumbian books and art. Using the variety of sources now available to them, scholars in Mexico, the United States, and Europe began to identify gods, symbols, and iconography. Books and journals proliferated, fueling greater interest; national governments, academic institutions and private backers sponsored campaigns of exploration, and eventually, of excavation. During the long, stable reign of Porfirio Díaz in Mexico (1876-1911), Mexican scholars began to study the Aztecs and their predecessors with care. Because of their identification with the despised Porfirio Díaz regime, however, some of their works have been unjustly neglected, or even condemned. Manuel Orozco y Berra, Jesús Sánchez, Alfredo Chavero, Justo Sierra, José Fernando Ramírez, Cecilio Robelo, and Jesús Calindo y Villa, among others, read manuscripts, published previously unknown documents, and began interpreting Aztec art, life and religion. Robelo published his 2-volume D/cc/onar/o <Ze M/fo/qgia NaAuaf/ in 1905, a compendium of Centra! Mexican religion that was rarely cited by his contemporaries (and even less frequently today) but which must have been heavily consulted by his contemporaries and successors. Based on the sources unearthed or published by his learned colleagues, Robelo's dictionary is useful for any student of Aztec gods and symbols today and has remained surprisingly current. Of his Mexican contemporaries, Francisco Paso y Troncoso made the greatest contribution. A skilled naAuaf/afo, or Nahuatl-speaker and translator, Paso y Troncoso dedicated much of


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his tife to rediscovering the works of Bernardino de Sahagún and making them available to scholars, although his vast project of translation and publication was teft unhnished upon his death in Europe in 1916. Leopold Batres carried out excavations at Mida, Teotihuacan, and Tenochtitlan, and although the following generation of archaeologists harshly criticized Batres' techniques and results, his efforts laid the groundwork for modern archaeology in Mexico. After the Mexican Revolution, Manuel Camio carried out the first strati­ graphic excavations in Mexico, at Atzcapotzalco, opening up the possibility of documenting civilized life in the first millennium BC. in France, E.-T. Hamy studied and separated Aztec from non-Aztec works in Paris museums, publishing dozens of articles in his journal Decades amer/caines, identifying gods and relating Teotihuacan representations to Aztec deities in useful investigations, although he shared with Brasseur a passion for theories of non-native origins of Mesoamerican civilization. He published the first edition of the Codex Borbonicus in 1899. Desire Charnay had visited Mexico in 1857, but his 1880 trip produced his most important observations, the identiheation of Tula, Hidalgo, with the home of the Toltecs, and the linking of it culturally and temporally to Chichen ítxá, but unfortunately he then went on to attribute all civilization in Mesoamerica to Toltec genius. Several German scholars made important contributions to the deciphering of Mesoamerican religious imagery at the end of the 19th c., but the wide-ranging efforts of Eduard Seler remain the most important today, perhaps because his commentaries are almost always rooted in an object or corpus: only rarely did Seler begin with an idea that he sought to prove, rather than starting with a text, an object, or a building. Sponsored by the Due de Loubat, a wealthy New Yorker, from 1887 onward, Seler wrote commentaries to new facsimile editions of many codices in which he identified the gods, explicated the calendrics and related patterns to ethnohistoric documents. Although more skilled in his manipulation of Central Mexican materials, Seler was the hrst to compare Maya and Mexican materials systematically; more profoundly than any of his contemporaries, Seler drew his interpretations from the widest possible range of sources, including history, ethnohistory, and archaeological remains. Seler's writings began to be collected in the 5-volume Cesamme/fe AAAant#ungan in 1902, and the final volume was issued posthumously in 1923. Seler's vast corpus remains the point of departure for most modern iconographic inquiries. Once Ernst Forstemann, Royal Librarian in Dresden, began to prepare a facsimile edition of the Dresden Codex (pub. 1880), he worked with the manuscript until he had broken the code of the Maya calendar and mathematics, making possible the decipherment of the Long Count of the monuments and its correlation to the Christian calendar, as later propounded by the American journalist J. T. Goodman in 1905. From that point on, the antiquity of the Maya monuments later attributed to the "Classic" period was known, and the dichotomy of "Maya: Creeks of the New World" vs. "Aztecs: Romans of the New World" took root. The sudden cessation of Maya monuments with Long Count dates in the 9th c. came to be called the "collapse," a problem for scholars from that time onward. In 1897, Paul ScheHhas inaugurated modern Maya iconographic studies with his investigation of the deities of the Maya codices in which he carefully isolated separate iconographic entities, recognized their name glyphs, and assigned neutral letters of the alphabet to individual gods.


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In the United States, Daniel Brinton translated Nahuatl poetry into English (1887) and reacted against the excesses of enthusiasts like Chamay with skeptical attacks on the very existence of the Toltecs, invoking, in turn, the wrath of Seler. Zelia Nuttall, the Erst woman scholar to study Mesoamerica, published commentaries on Precolumbian manuscripts, correctly identiEed the large piece of featherwork in the Vienna Museum as a headdress, perhaps Motecuhzoma's, rather than a standard, and offered hypotheses for the meanings of some Mesoamerican calendrical cycles that her male colleagues found laughable, although some have been shown to be probable today. She correctly proposed that a Mixtee codex (like her contemporaries, she thought the Mixtee books were Aztec) depicted largely historical, not religious, iconography; in her honor, the book, the Codex Nuttall, was given her name. Probably inspired by the writings of Stephens, scholars in the United States and England focused their attention on the Maya, particularly the discovery and exploration of archaeological sites. Alfred P. Maudslay made extensive Maya art available to study through publication of drawings of monuments at Copan, Quiriguá, Palenque, Yaxchilán, and Chichen Itzá. Despite efforts by Cyrus Thomas and others to use the Landa "alphabet" to decipher Maya texts, the nature of the script remained unknown until Yuri Knorosov tackled it after World War II. J. T. Goodman recognized the head and fu!!-Sgure variants for numbers and period glyphs, some of which turned out to be gods. Herbert Spinden built on Schellhas's 1897 list of Postclassic Maya gods by identifying some of them and isolating yet others in the earlier Classic art for his 1909 Harvard dissertation, later published as A of Maya Art in 1913. George Vaillant established the basic chronological sequence for Maya ceramics still in use today. Harvard sponsored campaigns of archaeological exploration and documentation, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington domi­ nated Maya archaeology between the World Wars, publishing vast quantities of material for later iconographic exegesis. The Problems of Early 20th c. Mesoamerican Studies With the correlation of the Maya and European calendars settled, the Maya were seen by many as the inventors of the calendar and gods. But problems remained with such a construct, particularly as evidenced by the corpus of art that came to be called "Olmec." Non-Mayanist Mesoamericanists, among them Marshall Saville, George Vaillant, Matthew Stirling, Alfonso Caso, and Miguel Covarrubias believed that the Olmec aesthetic and iconographic enigma, present both in Central Mexico and in Veracruz, predated the Maya. Covarrubias earned the wrath of Mayanists when he drew a now-famous how chart (see illustration under WERE-jACUAR, p. 185) to show how what he called Olmec were-jaguars preceded all other rain gods in Mesoamerica, and he called the Olmec the cu/fura madre. After World War II, radiocarbon dating would prove the chronological primacy of the Olmec as Mesoamerica's Erst complex culture and the Gulf Coast as its hearth. Alfonso Caso excavated Monte Albán for several seasons in the 1930s, establishing a stratigraphically based chronology for Oaxaca and vastly amplifying the corpus of religious art. Caso and Ignacio Bernal studied Zapotee ceramic urns, isolating deity complexes and relating them to both Colonial god lists made by Francisco de Burgoa and to known Aztec gods. Unlike his predecessors, including Seler and Nuttall, Caso recognized that the Mixtee codices were distinct from Aztec ones, and he unraveled the major genealogies, identifying them with, known places, although scholars now believe that he pushed the antiquity of these lineages back too far into the past.


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BM

Knowledgeable in all aspects of Mesoamerica except the Maya, Caso explored Aztec religion and iconography and offered what until recently were the most explicit studies of Mesoamerican calendars, and many of his interpretations have remained in favor. Unlike many other Mesoamerican sites, Teotihuacan was never lost from view. But although Charnay had idenüBed Tula, Hidalgo, as the historical home of the Toltecs, Teotihuacan had come to be considered Tula for most of the century. The discovery in the late 1930s of Teotihuacan-style pottery in contexts with datable Early Classic Maya pottery at Kaminaljuyú pushed Teotihuacan back into the first millennium AD and opened a place for Tula, confirmed as the Toltec capital by Wigberto Jimenez-Moreno at the first round table of the Sociedad mexicana de antropología in 1941. As professor of anthropology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in the 1920s, Seler's student Hermann Beyer carried on Mesoamerican iconographic studies, particularly of Aztec art, as did Walter Lehmann in Germany. Angel Maria Garibay offered the first comprehensive translations of Nahuat! texts. Ignacio Marquina explored the iconography of Mesoamerican architecture. Ignacio Bernal carried on Caso and Covarrubias's Olmec studies. After World War H, scholars sought unified terminologies to refer to both time and place. Spinden and Morley's notion of Old and New Empires for the Maya, for example, had never applied to other parts of Mesoamerica, and evidence for early occupation of Yucatán made it impossible to believe the Maya collapse to have been a wholesale movement of peoples. A. V. Kidder and Tatiana Proskouriakoff of the Carnegie Institution of Washington began to refer in published works to what had also been called the "Initial Series Period" as the Classic era, roughly AD 300-900, and they used the term to refer to other contemporaneous cultures at Monte Alban and Teotihuacan. The Postclassic era, then, began with the rise of the Toltecs at Tula; the Olmec and other early developments were Preclassic, and fell in the Brst millennium Be. Such terms implied a value judgment that the "Classic" era achieved some ideal, a notion now out of favor, and so other terms have been proposed, but only the substitution of "Formative" for Preclassic has taken hold. In 1943, Paul Kirchhoff suggested the name Mesoamerica to refer to an area of shared cultural traditions from 14 to 21 degrees north latitude, encompassing much of Mexico, all of Guatemala and Belize, and the northern strip of Honduras and El Salvador. This term has successfully replaced "Middle America," "Nuclear Amer­ ica," or the names of modern nation-states in scholarly discussion of the region. Later 20th c. Studies: Maya Sir Eric Thompson dominated studies of Maya religion and iconography for most of the 20th c. as surely as Eduard Seler had reigned over the Mesoamerican scene at the turn of the century. (Thompson's prominent colleague Sylvanus G. Morley operated more in the archaeological realm and ultimately followed many of Thompson's views in his synthetic writings.) Thompson sprinkled his writings with quotations from English literature which he used to idealize Maya gods and religion, heightening differences between what he characterized as the peaceful Classic period and the warlike Postclassic era. Based on his knowledge of Central Mexican iconography - a knowledge vastly expanded by his supervision of a translation of Seler's collected works during World War II - Thompson wrote Maya ARerogTypAic Wr/Rng^ (1950), a compendium of iconography as well as of Maya writing. In Maya


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History and PeAgion (1970) he offered a new model of Maya religion, with many gods subsumed under Itzamna. The Carnegie Institution of Washington began to phase out its program of Maya research after World War II, and Maya archaeologists turned away from the excavation of major ceremonial architecture and the documentation of stone monuments. In the held, archaeologists sought to determine the nature of Maya settlement, without any special consideration of the elite and their art, yielding few studies of religion, gods, and iconography, intellectual territory they had ceded to Thompson. The contributions of Gunter Zimmermann (1956) and Ferdinand Anders (1963), updating the works of Schellhas and other German scholars, were among only a very few such studies of the period. Since 1970, however, studies of Maya religion have flourished, dependent in part on the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphic writing that began with Yuri Knorosov (Brst comprehensively published in English in 1967), Heinrich Berlin (1958), Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1960, 1963, 1964), David Kelley (1962, 1976) and continued on with Victoria Bricker, Federico Fahsen, Nikolai Grube, Stephen Houston, John Justeson, Floyd Lounsbury, Berthold Riese, Linda Scheie, and David Stuart, among others. It took hieroglyphic decipherment, for example, for Proskouriakoff to prove that Maya depictions represented named nobility, including women (1960), or to see that the Classic Maya were a warlike people (e.g. Miller 1986). The 8 volumes issued to date of the Palenque Round Table have been a forum for discussions of Maya art and writing (1974-). Linda Scheie has tackled dozens of iconographic problems, with many of the results published in The P/ood of Kmgy (1986) and A Foresf of Kings (1990), and she initiated Copan Notes and Texas No fes, privately published iconographic and epigraphic commentaries. Research jReporfs on Anc/enf Maya Wb&ng, published by George Stuart, also treat religion and iconography. Karl Taube has made a systematic reassessment of Postclassic Maya deities (1992). Decipherment of Maya writing has meant not only the idenĂźBcation of deity names but also the recognition of verbs marking religious events, among them bloodletting, war, sacriBce, dreaming, dancing, death, and burial. Stephen Houston and David Stuart recently cracked the pattern of naming places in Maya script and found the names of supernatural places along with those of the mundane world. iconographic studies have also grown because of a near-explosion of new materials for study from both archaeology and looting. Michael Coe has studied the new corpus of Classic Maya ceramics and used the Popo/ VnA to decipher iconography and identify gods (1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1982); Clemency Coggins analyzed the Tikal corpus (1975), while Francis Robicsek and Donald Hales considered others without provenience (1981, 1982). Karl Herbert Mayer has assembled photographs of looted monuments (1980, 1991). Since 1970, Nicholas Hellmuth has been photographing Maya vessels, building a photographic archive kept at the University of Texas at San Antonio (e.g. Quirarte 1979) and several museums; using the archive, Hellmuth has analyzed Early Classic iconography (1987). Justin Kerr is publishing the corpus of Maya vessels he has photographed with his rollout camera (1989, 1990, 1992). New editions and translations of the Popo/ VuA have been useful (Edmonson 1971; Tedlock 1985), as are new facsimile editions of the Maya codices and the identiBcation of a fourth Preconquest book, the Grolier Codex (Coe 1973). Archaeological exploration has promoted study of gods and iconography, particularly with the careful line drawings of monuments now considered obligatory for any archaeological project (Jones and Satterthwaite 1982; Beetz and Satterthwaite 1981),


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2ÍM

and the Corpus project directed by tan Craham has set a high standard for at! other )ine drawings (Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions 1975-). The tomb paintings at Rio Azu! have ampliBed an understanding of the Maya iconography of death and the cave paintings at Naj Tunich have revealed the world of cave rituals. Ongoing projects at Copan and Dos Pilas continue to yield iconographic materials without precedent. Some archaeological discoveries also reshaped fundamental thinking about Maya gods and religion, and discoveries at Cerros, El Mirador, and Kohunlich have shown that those gods were known by at least 100 BC; some of th$ Postconquest Popo/ VuA narrative appears to be explicit on highland monuments and at Izapa by no later than AD 100. The murals of Bonampak and the discovery of the secret tomb within the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque both suggested persona! aggrandizement rather than paeans to Maya gods; the subsequent discovery of a major tomb at the base of Tikal Temple I conBrmed the pattern of tombs within temples, ultimately leading Mayanists to recognize the role of ancestor worship in religion. Settlement studies have revealed the complexity of urban and rural life for the Maya; ecological archaeology has frequently resonated with iconographic patterns (Puleston 1976). Recognition of war iconography among the Classic Maya (Riese 1984, Scheie and Miller 1986; Scheie and Freidel 1990) has narrowed the perceived intellectual and moral rift between the Classic Maya and the Maya at Chichen Itzá, raising questions of dating, provoking new iconographic studies of Postclassic Yucatán, and forcing a reevaluation of the role played by Tula at Chichen Itzá (Coggins and Shane 1984; Lincoln 1990). Later 20th c. Studies: Centra! Mexico In 1978, excavations began again at the Templo Mayor compound, the Aztec sacred precinct within Tenochtitlan, initiating a new era of Aztec archaeological and iconographic studies under Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. New major monuments such as the Coyolxauhqui stone came to light, as did abundant caches and offerings, allowing new understandings of Aztec religious practice and meaning (Boone 1987; Broda, Carrasco, and Matos Moctezuma 1987; Matos Moctezuma 1988), and the provincial Aztec record has also received incisive documentation (Solis 1981). Although buoyed by the new archaeological discoveries, Aztec textual and icono­ graphic studies had long flourished, particularly in Mexico under the stewardship of Miguel Leon-Portilla, Alfredo López Austin, and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma; in the United States led by H.B. Nicholson; and in Germany, most recently headed by Karl Nowotny and Ferdinand Anders. Nicholson s 1971 synthesis remains a mode! of understatement, the single best guide to Aztec gods and religious complexes. Other contributors to the study of Aztec iconography and religion include Carmen Aguilera, Patricia Anawalt, Johanna Broda, Jacqueline de Durand-Forest, Doris Heyden, Cecilia Klein, Esther Pasztory, Hanns Prem, Bodo Spranz, Richard Townsend, and Emily Umberger. Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles Dibble have systematically translated the Nahuatl Florentine Codex into English (Sahagun 19501982); Thelma Sullivan also translated selections of the corpus of Sahagun and his contemporaries. In Aztecs, Inga Clendinnen (1991) paints a rich picture of the Aztec religious world. New facsimile editions, particularly those published by the Akademische Druckund Verlaganstalt in Graz, Austria, of Central Mexican Prehispanic and Postconquest books have increased their availability for study, as have accompanying iconographic


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studies (e g. Codex Mendoza 1992). Major Internationa! exhibitions featuring or inctuding Aztec art have improved its documentation (e g. Nicho!son with Quiñones Keber 1983; Paz et a! 1990; Levenson 1991). Jorge Acosta !ong directed excavations at Tu!a (and at Teotihuacan) and offered interpretations of Toltec art and gods, although the materia! is sti!! poor!y understood. The ro!e of major Termina! Classic sites in the power vacuum after the fa!! of Teotihuacan has come to be recognized, particu!ar!y after the 1976 discovery of comptex paintings in Maya style at Cacaxt!a, T!axca!a (McVicker 1985; Lombardo de Ruiz 1986), reviving interest in Xochicalco and its iconography, as we!! as the genera! problem of an "international' iconography (Ber!o and Dieh!, eds., 1989). Poorly documented before Wor!d War II, Teotihuacan received massive archaeoiogica! study starting in 1960, foüowed more recent!y by iconographic inquiries. Esther Pasztory (1974) sorted out the goggle-eyed gods, bringing to an end the practice of calling al! such figures "T!a!oc," and together with George Kub!er (1967), initiated the introduction of neutra! names for Teotihuacan gods. Female deities have been recognized as we!l as ma!e (Taube 1983), and shared iconographic traits with the rest of Mesoamerica have been considered (Berio, ed. in press). Hasso von Winning has assembled a corpus of Teotihuacan iconographic signs (1987). Many Teotihuacan mura! paintings have come to light, including the recently documented Techinantitla corpus (Berrin 1988) that features hieroglyphs, but no texts have been surety deciphered and a hnguistic decipherment wi!l languish as long as the language spoken at Teotihuacan remains an enigma. Later 20th c. Studies: Oaxaca The antiquity and importance of writing to the early Zapotees has gained recognition (Marcus 1980; Urcid 1992), Zapotee civilization has been studied at sites other than Monte Alban (e g. Bernal 1979), and the Danzantes at Monte Alban have been shown to be mutilated victims rather than "dancers " (Scott 1980). First built upon by Mary Elizabeth Smith, Caso s studies of Mixtee codices have now been amplified and in some cases superseded by those of Jill Furst, Maarten Jansen, John Monaghan, John Pohl, and Nancy Troike, with new decipherments of history and places of the Mixtee. Later 20th c. Studies: Formative Olmec and the Protoclassic Era Radiocarbon dating has confirmed the early date of the Olmecs, and although their lowland origin has been settled in the minds of most investigators, discoveries at Teopantecuanitlan, Guerrero (Martinez Donjuán 1985), have reinforced the importance of highland Mexico in this early orbit. The excavation and documentation of La Venta, San Lorenzo, and Chalcatzingo (Drucker, Heizer and Squier 1959; Coe and Dieh! 1980; Grove 1987), as well as the publication of looted materials from Las Choapas (Joralemon 1971) vastly amplified the Olmec materials available for study, leading to serious iconographic inquiry. Coe (1968) proposed a series of gods based on incised markings of the Las Limas figure, a suggestion later systematized by Joralemon as Cods 1-X, although the meanings of these figures are still not clear (1971, 1976; see also Pohorilenko 1990 and Reilly 1990). Although it is not well understood, Mesoamerican culture thrived along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, from Atlantic to Pacific, at the end of the Formative era, or what is often called the Protoclassic. Even though the art of the period is often called Izapa-style, Izapa probably did not function as a center of diffusion, nor did


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RM

Abaj Takalik, despite its importance in this era and to the later Classic Maya. The art and religion of this period and place may be better represented in recent discoveries at La Mojarra, discovered in 1986 (Winfield Capitaine 1988). Bearing dates in AD 143 and 156, the La Mojarra stela shows the sophisticated development of writing, advanced calendrical notation, iconography and ideology that encompasses and includes the Olmec while pointing the way to the Classic Maya. Later 20th c. Studies: Classic Veracruz Much of the art and iconography of Classic Veracruz remains a mystery, plagued by centuries of looting, insufficient documentation of both archaeological works and those without provenience, and uncertainty about fundamental cultural associations between place and ethnicity. Excavations at El Zapota! have yielded life-sized tomb figures of deities; paintings at Las Higueras depict lords festooned with paper strips carrying out sacrificial rituals. Catalogues of Huastec and El Tajin sculptures have improved access to materials (de la Fuente and Gutiérrez Solana 1980; Kampen 1972). Later 20th c. Studies: West Mexico Although long thought to be anecdotal and free of the religious meaning of the Aztecs or Maya, the art of West Mexico has been studied for its iconographic complexity in recent years (Furst 1965; Von Winning 1974; Gallagher 1983; Graham n.d ), following publication of quantities of looted material, some of which has suggested patterns of meaning and a highly stratified society. Recent excavation and reconnaissance has revealed intersections with the rest of Mesoamerica (Foster and Weigand 1985; Schondube and Galván 1978). Later 20th c. Studies: Other Problems Anthony Aveni, Horst Hartung, and John Carlson have all demonstrated the importance of geomancy and astronomy for ancient America (Aveni 1980; Aveni 1988; Aveni and Brotherston, eds. 1983). Johanna Broda has published a useful synthesis and commentary of comparative Mesoamerican calendars (1969). New journals, including Mexican, Latin Amer/can Antiquity and Ancient Mesoamer­ ica, have increased the ability of specialists to communicate their findings to one another. Major dictionary and linguistic projects have drawn upon both modern and Colonial sources, yielding in some cases new dictionaries (Barrera Vásquez 1980, Laughlin 1975, Kartunnen 1983, Summer Institute of Linguistics 1974, 1985) and new guides to older dictionaries (e.g. Campbell 1985). Ethnographers and linguists have worked all across Mesoamerica (Bricker and Gossen 1989, Fought 1972, Furst 1965, Girard 1966, Gossen 1974 and 1986, Ichon 1973, Jansen, van der Loo, and Manning, eds., 1988, Mendelson 1959, Sandstrom 1991, Taggart 1983, Tedlock 1982, and Vogt 1968, among many others), and ethnohistorians have worked through documents to offer a new view of native Mesoamerica in the years following the Conquest (Burkhart 1989, Klor de Alva 1981, Carmack 1981).

Sources of Quotations Direct citations from the Florentine Codex in Cods and SymAoVs of Ancient Mexico and fAe Maya are labelled FC in the main entries and come from the A. J. O. Anderson and C. E. Dibble translations, 1950-1982 (listed under Sahagun in the Bibliography). Direct citations of the Fopo/ VnA are from the Dennis Tedlock translation, 1985.


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Abbreviations BAE Bureau of American Ethnology CiW Carnegie institution of Washington DOS Dumbarton Oaks Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology ECM Estudios de Cultura Maya ECN Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl HM A/ Handbook of Middle American Indians fCA Proceedings of the International Congress of Americanists IMS Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, SUNY Albany

MAI

Acosta, Jorge R., 1940, "Exploraciones en Tula, Hidalgo 1940," BMEA, 14, 172-94 ------, 1957, "Interpretación de algunos de los datos obtenidos en Tula relativos a la época Tolteca," BMEA, 14, 75-100 Adams, Richard E. W., 1969, "Maya Archaeology 1958-1968, A Review," Latin American Research Be view, 4:2, 3-45 Alcorn, Janis B , 1984, Huasfec Mayan Ethnobotany, Austin Alva Ixtíilxóchit!, Fernando de, 1965, Obras histór­ icas de Don Fernando de A/va Lrdiixócbid, 2 vols. Mexico City Alzate y Ramírez, José Antonio, 1791, "Descripción de las antigüedades de Xochicalco," Supplement to Caceta de /iteratura, No. 31, Mexico Anawalt, Patricia, 1981, Jodian C/otbing Be/bre Cortés, Norman, Okla Anders, Ferdinand, 1963, Das Bantbeon derMaya, Craz ------ , and Maarten Jansen, eds., 1988, Scbriit und Buch im a/ten Mexiho, Craz Aubin, J. M. A., 1849, Mémoire sur /a peinture didactique et /ecriture figurative des anciens mexicafns, Paris Aveni, Anthony F., 1980, SAywatchers o f Ancient Mexico, Austin ------ , ed., 1988, N ew Directions in American Archaeoastronomy, Oxford ------ , and Brotherston, Cordon, 1983, Ca/endars in Mexico and Peru and Native American Compu­ tations o f Time, Oxford Badianus Manuscript: An Aztec Herbal of 1552, 1940, ed. E. W. Emmart, Baltimore Bardawd, Lawrence, 1976, "The Principal Bird Deity in Maya Art," PBT2, Part III, 195-209 Barlow, Robert, 1949, The Extent of the Empire of the Culhua Mexica, ibcro-Americana 28 Barrera Vásquez, Alfredo, ed., 1980, Diccionario Maya Cordemex. Maya-Españo/, EspanofMaya, Merida Batres, Leopoldo, 1889, Teotihuacan, o /a ciudad sagrada de /os 7b/tecas, Mexico City ------ , 1902, Exp/oraciones en Monte A/bén, Mexico City Baudez, Claude F , 1985, "The Knife and the Lancet: the Iconography of Sacrifice at Copan," Fourth P B T 1980, 201-210 Bectz, Carl f a n d Linton Satterthwaitc, 1981, The Monuments and inscriptions o f Caraco/, Be/ize, Univ. Mus. Monograph 45, Philadelphia

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209 ¡eyenda de ¡0 $ so!es, 1945, trans. and ed. Primo Feliciano Velazquez, Mexico City Coe, Michael D., 1968, Amenca s First C/wAzaiJon. Discovering the Olmec, New York ------, 1973, The Maya 5cribe and His World, New York ------ , 1975, Classic Maya Pottery at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D C. ------, 1977, "Supernatural Patrons of Maya Scribes and Artists," Social Process in Maya Prehistory, ed. N. Hammond, New York, 327-47 ------ , 1978, Lords o f the Underworld, Princeton ------ , 1982, Old Cody and Young Heroes, Jerusalem ------ , 1984, Mexico, 3rd edn, London and New York ------ , 1987, The Maya, 4th edn, London and New York ------ , 1990, "The Hero Twins: Myth and Image," in J. Kerr, ed., Maya Pase Book f New York 161-84 ------ , 1992, Breaking the Maya Code, London and New York ------ , and Diehl, Richard, 1980, Vh the Land o f the Olmec, 2 vols, Austin Coggins, Clemency Chase, 1975, Painting and Drawing Styles atTikal: An Historical and Iconographic Reconstruction, Ph D. Diss. Harvard ------ , and Orrin Shane HI, eds., 1984, Cenote o f Sacrihce/ Maya Treasures /rom the Sacred We// at Chichón ftza, Austin Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions, 1975-, Drawings and maps by Ian Graham, Eric Von Euw, Peter Mathews. Vols. 1-6, Peabody Museum, Harvard Univ. Cortes, Hernán, 1986, Letters /ron? Mexico, trans. and ed. Anthony Pagden, New Haven Cortez, Constance, 1986, The Principal Bird Deity in Preclassic and Early Classic Maya Art, M.A. thesis, The Univ. of Texas Couch, N. C. C., 1985, The festiva/ Cycle o f the Aztec Codex Borbonicus, Oxford Covarrubias, Miguel, 1957, Indian Art o f Mexico and Centra/ America, New York Cresson, F. M., 1938, "Maya and Mexican Sweat Houses," American Anthropologist, N.S. 40, 88-102

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GUIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY Duran, Diego, 1964, The Aztecs, trans. F. Horcasitas and D. Heyden, New York ------ , 1971, Book o f the Cods and Bites and The Ancient Ca/endar, trans. D Heyden and F. Horcasitas, Norman Earle, Duncan M., and Snow, Dean, 1985, The Origin of the 260-day Calendar: the Gestation Hypothesis Reconsidered in Light of its Use Among the Quiche-Maya," in Fi/th PB71 241-44 Easby, Elizabeth and John Scott, 1970, Be/bre Cortes. Sculpture o f Midd/e America, New York Edmonson, Munroe, 1971, The Book o f Counsel. The Popo/ Vuh o f the Quiche Maya o f Cuatema/a, MARI 35 ------ , 1982, The Ancient Future o f the ftza. the Chi/am Ba/am o f Tizimin, Austin ------ , 1986, Heaven-horn Merida and its Destiny, Austin Emmerich, Andre, 1965, Sweat o f the Sun and Tears o f the Moon, New York Essays in pre-Columbian Art and Architecture (with essays by S. K. Lothrop et al), 1964, Cambridge, Mass Estrada, Alvaro, 1981, Maria Sabina. H erL i/eand Chants, trans. and comm, by Henry Munn, Santa Barbara Fash, William L., 1991, Scribes, Warriors, and Kings, London and New York Flannery, Kent V., and Joyce Marcus, 1983, The C/oud People. Divergent Fvo/ution o f the Zapo­ tee and Mixtee Civilizations, New York Forstemann, Ernst Wilhelm, 1880, Die Mayahandschri/t der Konrglichen Oden/ichen Bibliothek zu Dresden, Leipzig ------ , 1901, "Der Mayagott des Jahresschlusses," C/obus 80, 189-92 Foster, Michael 8., and Phil C. Weigand, eds , 1985, The Archaeo/ogy o f West and Northwest Mesoamerica, Boulder Fought, John, 1972, Chorti ('Mayan^) Texts, Phila­ delphia Furst, Jill, 1978, Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus f, A Commentary, Albany Furst, Peter, 1965, "West Mexican Tomb Sculpture as Evidence for Shamanism in Prehispanic Mesoamerica," Antropológica 15 ------ , ed., 1972, F/esh o f the Cods, the Bitua/ Use o f Hallucinogens, London ------ , and Coe, Michael, 1977, "Ritual Enemas," Natural History, February, 88-91 Óalarza, Joaquin, 1974, Codex mcxicains, catalogue, Bib/iotbeque nationa/e de Paris, Paris Galindo y Villa, Jesus, 1922, F/ Museo Nacional de Arqueología Historia y Ftnogra/ra. Breve reseña, Mexico City Gallagher, Jacki, 1983, Companions o f the Dead, Los Angeles Callenkamp, Charles, and Regina Elise Johnson, eds., 1985, Maya. Treasures o f an Ancient Civili­ zation, New York Camio, Manuel, 1922, La población del Valle de Tbotibuacan, Mexico City


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CUIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY Lincoln, Charles E., 1990, Ethnicity and Social Organization at Chichón Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico, Ph D. Diss, Harvard University Linné, Sigvald, 1934, Archaeo/ogica/Researches at Teobhuacan, Mexico, Ethnological Museum of Sweden Publication No. 1, N.S. Litvak King, J., and Noemí Castillo Tejero, eds , 1972, Rebgión en mesoamerica, Mexico City Lombardo de Ruiz, Sonia, et a!., 1986, Cacaxt/a. e/ /ugar donde muere /a /hrvia en /a berra, Mexico City López Austin, Alfredo, 1985, Educación mexica. anto/ogia de documentos sahagunbnos, Mexico City ------ , 1988, The Human Body and Tdeo/ogy. Con­ cepts o í the Ancient iVahuas, 2 vols, trans. T. and B. Ortiz de Montellano, Salt Lake Lothrop, Samuel K., 1924, Tu/um. An Archaeo /ogica/ .Study o í the East Coast o í Yucatan, CIW Pub. 335 ------ , 1952, Meta/s /rom the Cenote o í Sacrihce, Chichen Ttza, Yucatan, PMM 10:2 Lounsbury, Floyd, 1973, "On the Derivation and Reading of the Ben-Ich' Prefix, " in E. P. Benson, ed., Mesoamerican Writing Systems, ed., Washington, D C., 99-143 ------ , 1982, "Astronomical Knowledge and its Uses at Bonampak, Mexico," in A. F. Aveni, ed., Archaeoastronomy in the New Wor/d, New York, 143-68 McVicker, Don, 1985, "The 'Mayanized' Mexicans," American Anbquity, 50, 82-101 Ma!er,Teobert, 1901-03, Researches in the Centra/ Portion o í the Usumasint/a Lahey, PMM 2 Manuscrit Tovar, 1972, ed. Jacques LaFaye, Graz Marcus, Joyce, 1974, "The Iconography of Power Among the Classic Maya", Wor/d Archaeology, 6:1, 83-94 ------, 1980, "Zapotee Writing," Scientihc Amer­ ican, 242:2 50-64 Marquina, Ignacio, 1951, Arquitectura prehispánica, Mexico City Martinez Donjuán, Guadalupe, 1985, El sitio olmeca de Teopantecuanitlán en Guerrero," Ana/es de Antropo/ogia, 22, 215-26 Matos Moctezuma, Eduardo, 1988, The Creat Temp/e o í the Aztecs. Treasures o í Tenochtit/an, trans. D. Heyden, New York Matrícula de Huexotzinco, 1974, ed. Hanns j. Prem, Graz Maudslay, Alfred P., 1899-1902, Bio/ogia Centra/iAmericana. Archaeo/cgy, 5 vols, London Mayer, Karl Herbert, 1980, Maya Monuments. Scu/ptures o í Un/rnown Provenance in the United States, trans. S. L. Brizee, Ramona, Calif ------ , 1991, Maya Monuments. Sculptures o í Un/rnown Provenance, Suppl. 3, Berlin Mendelson, E. Michael, 1959, "Maximon: An Iconographical Introduction," Man, 59, 57-60 Merwin, Raymond E. and George C. Vaillant, 1932, 7he Ruins oíH o/m u/, Cuaterna/a, PMM 11:2

Mesa Redonda de la Sociedad Mexicana de Antro­ pología XI (Teotihuacan), 1972, 2 vols, Mexico City


CLIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY Miller, Arthur, Í973, TAe M um / Bainting o f 7eo^ tiAuacan, Washington, D C ------ , 1962, On the Ec/ge o f tAe Sea Mura/Bainting at 7ancaA-7u/un?, Quintana Boo, Mexico, Washington, D.C. Miller, Mary Ellen, 1986, TAe MuraE o f BonampaA, Princeton ------ , 1989, "The History of the Study of Maya Vase Painting," in Justin Kerr, ed.. TAe Afaya Mase Boole, Vol. 1, New York, pp, 128-45 ------ , and Stephen D Houston, 1987, "The Classic Maya Ballgame and Its Architectural Setting," BES, 14, 47-65 Miller, Virginia, 1991, 7Ae f n e z e o f tAe Baiace o f tAe Stuccoes, AcanceA, Yucatan, Mexico, DOS 31 Millón, René, 1974, Urbanization at 7eot?Auacan. Mexico, 2 vols. Austin Moholy-Nagy, Hattula, 1963, "Shells and Other Marine Materia! from Tikal," ECM, 3, 65-83 Monaghan, John, 1990, "Sacrifice, Death and the Origins of Agriculture in the Vienna Codex," American An/ifyMih, 55, 559-89 Morgan, Lewis Henry, 1877, Ancient Society, New York and London Morlcy, Sylvanus C., 1920, inscriptions at Copán, C1W Pub. 219 ------ , 1937-38. inscriptions o f Betán, 5 vols, C1W Pub. *137 ------ , 1946. TAc Ancient Maya, Palo Alto, Calif ------ , Ceorge W. Braincrd, and revised by Robert Sharer, 1983 TAc Ancient Maya, 4th ed., Palo Alto, Calif Morris, Ear! H., Jean Chariot, and Ann Axtcl! Morris, 1931, TAc 7empie o f tAe Warriors at CAicAen itzá, Yucatán, 2 vols, CIW Pub. 406 Nagao, Debra, 1985, "The Planting of Sustenance: Symbolism of the Two-Horned God in Offerings from the Templo Mayor." BES, 10, 5-27 Nicholson, H. B., 1971, "Religion in Pre-Hispanic Centra! Mexico," H M A f 10:1, 396-446 ------ , ed., 1976, Origins ofBei/gious Art and iconograpAy in BrecZassic Mesoamerica, Los Angeles ------ , with Eloise Quiñones Keber, 1983, Art o f Aztec Mexico. Treasures o f 7enocAtit/an, Washington, D C. Norman, Garth, 1973, izapa Sculpture, Bart 1. AiAum, Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation 30 Nuttall, Zelia, 1908, "A Penitential Rite of the Ancient Mexicans," BMM, 7, 439-65 Olmos, Andres dc, 1985, Arte de ia iengua mexicana y vocaAu/ario, ed. Thelma Sullivan and René Acuña, Mexico City Ortiz de Montellano, Bernard R, 1978, "Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?" Science, 200, 611-17 Paddock, John, ed., 1966, Ancient Oaxaca, Palo Alto Parsons, Elsie Clews, 1939, BueAio Indian BeAgion, 2 vols, Chicago Parsons, Lee A., 1967-69, BiiAao, Cuatemaia. An ArcAaeoiqgicai .Study o f tAe BaciAc Coast CotzumaiAuapa Begion, 2 vols, Milwaukee ------ , 1986, TAe Origins o f Maya Art. Monumentai

212 Stone Sculpture ofKaminai/uyd, Cuatemaia, and tAe SdutAern BaciBc Coast, DOS 28 Pasztory, Esther, 1974, TAe iconograpAy o f tAe Tec&Auacan T/aioc, DOS 15 ------ . 1976, TAeM uraEof Tepantitia, TeotiAuacan, New York ------ . ed, 1978. Middie Classic Meosamerica AD 460-700. New York ------ , 1983, Aztec Art, New York Paxton, Merideth D , 1986, Codex Dresden: Stylis­ tic and Iconographic Analysis of a Maya Manu­ script, Ph D. diss., Univ. of New Mexico Paz, Octavio, et al, 1990, Mexico; Spiendors o f 77nrty Centones, New York Pendergast, David M., 1969, A/tun Ha, BritisA Honduras (Beiize/. tAe Sun C od s Tom A, Royal Ontario Museum Occ. Paper 19 Pohl, John, 1984, The Earth Lords: Politics and Symbolism of the Mixtee Codices, Ph D. thesis, UCLA ------ , and Byland, Bruce, 1990, "Mixtee Landscape Perception and Archaeological Settlement Pat­ terns, Ancient Mesoamenca 1:1, 113-31 Pohordenko, Anatole, 1990, Structure and periodiz­ ation of the Olmec Representational System, Ph D. diss., Tulane Porter, James, 1989 "Olmec Colossal Heads as Rccarved Thrones," BES, 17/18, 22-29 Prescott, William, 1843, TAe Conquest o f Mexico, 3 vols, New York Proskouriakoff, Tatiana, 1946, An AiAum o f Maya ArcAitecture, CIW Pub. 558 ------ , 1950, Classic Maya Acuipture, CIW Pub. 593 ------ , 1960, "Historical Implications of a Pattern of Dates at Piedras Negras," American Antiquity, 25, 454-75 ------ , 1963, "Historical Data in the Inscriptions of Yaxchilan, Part I," Estudios de Cuitura Maya, 3, 149-67 ------ , 1964, "Historical Data in the Inscriptions of Yaxchilan, Part II," Estudios de Cuitura Maya, 4,178-201 Puleston, Dennis, 1976, "The People of the Cayman/Crocodile: Riparian Agriculture and the Origins of Aquatic Motifs in Ancient Maya Iconography," in F -A . de Montequin, ed., Aspects o f Ancient Maya Ciw'A'zatron, Saint Paul Quirarte, Jacinto, 1979, "Representation of Place, Location, and Direction," in TAirdBBT 99-110 Reilly, F. Kent, 1990, "The Shaman in Transfor­ mation Pose: A Study of the Theme of Rulership in Olmec Art," Becord of The Art Museum of Princeton University, 48:2, 4-21 Relación de Michoacán, 1970, trans. and ed Eugene Craine and Reginald Reindorp, Norman, Okla Riese, Berthold, 1984, "Kriegsberichte der klassichen Maya," Baessier-ArcAiv, Beitráge zur VoZAerAunde, 30:2, 225-321 Ringle, William M ., 1988, O f M ice and MonAeys. TAe Vaiue and Meaning o f T767A, tAe Cod C HierogiypA, BBA M W 18 Robelo, Cecilio A., [reprinted] 1980, Diccionario de mitoZogia naAuat/, 2 vols, Mexico City Robertson, Donald, 1959, Mexican Manuscript


213 Painting o í tbe Ear/y Co/onia/ Period. The A/etropo/itar? ScbooE, New Haven Robertson, Merle Greene, 1983-92, Tibe Scu/pture o í Pa/enque, 4 vols, Princeton Robicsek, Francis, 1978, Tibe Smohing Cods. Tobacco 777 Maya Art, í&sfOTy and Bebgion, Norman, Okla ------, and Hales, Donald, 1981, The Maya Boob o í tbe Dead. tbe Cera777/c Codex, Norman, Okla ------ and ------ , 1982 Maya CeraTn/cs /rom tbe Late C/assic Period. tbe November Co//ecñon, Charlottesville Rosny, Leon de, 1864, "Les documents écrits de ¡'antiquité américaine," Memoires de /a Societé d'Etbnograpbie, N.S. 1:1, 57-100 Roys, Ra!ph L., 1933, Tbe Boob o í Cbv/am Ba/am oíCbumaye/, CIW Pub. 438 ------ , 1965, Tbe Bitua/ o í tbe Bacabs, Norman, Okla Ruiz de A¡arcón, Hernando, 1982, Aztec Sorcerers in /7th Ce7?tt77y Mexico, tbe Treatise 0 7 7 Superstiti077s, ed. and trans. Michael Coe and Cordon W hittaker, IMS Pub. 7

Ruz Lhuiller, Alberto, 1973, E/ temp/o de /as inscripciones, Pa/enque, Mexico City Sahagún, Bernardino de, 1905-09, Tfistoria de /as cosas de Nueva España, trans. F. Paso y Troncoso, Madrid ------ , 1950-82, Tbe F/ore77ti77e Codex. A Cenera/ History o í tbe T*bÍ77gs o í N ew Spain, trans. and ed. A. J. O. Anderson and C. E. Dibbie, Santa Fe ------ , 1964, Códices matritenses de /a historia genera/ de /as cosas de /a nueva España de Fr. Berna din o de Sabagun, Madrid ------ , 1979, Códice dorentino, 3 vo!s, Mexico City Sandstrom, A!an, 1991, CornisourB/ood, Norman, Ok!a Saville, Marsha!) H , 1920, Tbe Co/dsmiths Artin Ancient Mexico, MAI Notes and Monographs 7 ------ , 1922, Turquoise Mosaic Art in Ancient Mex­ ico, MAI Contribution 6 ------ , 1925, Tbe Wood-carvers Art in Ancient Mexico, MAI Contribution 9 ------ , 1929, "Votive Axes from Eastern Mexico," MAI Notes and Monographs 6, 266-99; 335-42 ------ , 1933, "Reports on the Maya Indians of Yucatan by Santiago Méndez, Antonio García y Cubas, Pedro Sánchez de Aguilar and Francisco Hernandez," MAI Notes and Monographs 9: 133-226 Scarborough, Vernon L, and Wilcox, David R , eds, 1991, Tbe Mesoamerican Bai/game, Tucson Scheie, Linda, 1987, "Architectural Development and Pohtica! History at Palenque, " in E. P. Benson, ed., City-States o í tbe Maya. Art and Architecture, Denver, 110-37 , and Freide!, David, 1990, A Forest o í /kings. The f/77fo/d Story o í tbe Ancient Maya, New York , and MiBer, Je#rey H ., 1983, Tbe Mirror, tbe Babbit and tbe Bund/e, DOS 25 , and Mary Ellen MiBer, 1986, Tbe B/ood o í Bings. Bitua/ and Dynasty in Maya Art, Fort Worth (London 1992)

GUIDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ScheBhas, Paul, 1904, Representations of Deities in the Maya Manuscripts, B M P 4:1 Scholes, France, and Roys, Ra!ph, 1948, Tbe Maya Chonta/ Tncbans o í Aca/an-7Yxcbe/, CIW Pub. 560 Schondube, Otto, and Galvan, L. Javier, 1978, "Salvage Archaeology at el Crillo-Tabachines, Zapopán, Jalisco, Mexico," in C. Riley and B. C. Hedrick, eds, Across tbe Chichimec Sea. Papers in Honor o í / Char/es Ee//ey, 144-64 Scott, John, 1980, Tbe Danzantes o í Monte A/bán, 2 vols, DOS Séjourné, Laurette, 1956, Burning Water. Thought and Bebgion in Ancient Mexico, New York ------ , 1959, Un pa/acio de /a ciudad de /os dioses. exp/oraciones en Z&55-5#, Mexico City ------ , 1966, E/ /engua/e de /as /ormas en Teotibuacan, Mexico City Seler, Eduard, 1902-23, Cesamme/te Abband/ungen, Berlin Simeon, Rémi, 1977, Diccionario de /a /engua Nahuat/ o Mexicano, Mexico City Sisson, Edward B., 1983, "Recent Work on the Borgia Group Codices," Current Antbropo/ogy, 24, 653-56 Smith, Robert E., 1955, Ceramic Sequence at Uaxactun, Cuatema/a, 2 vols, MARI Pub. 20 Solis Olguin, Felipe, 1976, Museo de Santa Ceciha Acatit/an. Catá/ogo de /a escu/tura mexica, Mex­ ico City ------ , 1981, Escu/tura de/ CastiZ/o de Teayo, Vera­ cruz, Mexico. Catá/ogo, Mexico City ------ , 1991, Tesoros artísticos de/ Museo Naciona/ de Antropo/ogia, Mexico City Sosa, John Robert, 1985, The Maya Sky, the Maya World: A Symbolic Analysis of Yucatan Maya Cosmology, Ph D. diss, SUNY Albany Soustelle, Jacques, 1964, The Dai/y Li/e o í tbe Aztecs on tbe Eve o í tbe Spanish Conquest, trans. P. O'Brien, London Spinden, Herbert J., 1913, A Study o í Maya Art, PM M 6 Spranz, Bodo, 1973, Los dioses en /os codices mexicanos de/ grupo Borgia, una investigación iconográSca, Mexico City Stcnzel, Werner, 1976, "The Military and Religious Orders of Ancient Mexico," 42nd /CA, 7, 17987 Stephens, John Lloyd, 1841, incidents o í Trave/m Centra/ America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, 2 vols, New York ------ , 1843, incidents oiTrave/ in Yticata/i, 2 vols, New York Sftern, Theodore, 1948, The Bubber-Ba// Carnes o í tbe Americas, New York Stevenson, Robert, 1968, Music in Aztec and inca Territory, Berkeley Stirling, Matthew, 1943, Stone Monuments o í Sou­ thern Mexico, BAEB 138 Stone, Andrea, 1989, "Disconnection, Foreign Insignia, and Political Expansion: Teotihuacan and the Warrior Stelae of Piedras Negras, in J. Berio and R. Diehl, eds, Mesoamerica A/ter tbe Dechne o í Teotihuacan, Washington, D C., 153-72


CUÍDE TO SOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY S trenerP éan , Cuy, 1971, Ancient Sources on the Huasteca," H M A f 11:2, 582-302 Stuart, David, 1984, "Blood Symbolism in M aya Iconography, AES, 7/8, 6 -2 0 -------, 1987, Ten Phonetic SyPahles, A R A M W 14 -------, 1988, "The Rio Azu! Cacao Pot: Epigraphic Observations on the Function of a M aya Ceramic Vessel, Antiquity, 62, 153-57 Stuart, Ceorge, 1992, 'Quest for Decipherment: A Histórica! and Biographical Survey of M aya Hierog!yphic Investigation/ in E. Danien and R. Sharer, eds, N ew Theories on the Ancient M aya, Philadephia, 1-63 Sullivan, The!ma, 1963, "Nahuatl Proverbs, Con­ undrums and Metaphors Collected by Sahagún," ECN, 4, 93-177 -------, 1982, "Tlazolteotl-Ixcuina: The Great Spinner and W eav er/' in E. Boone ed., The A rt and iconography o f L ate Aost-C%assic Centra/ Mexico, Washington, D C. Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1974, Ahhcgraphy o f the Summer Institute o f Linguistics, 1935-72, ed. A!an C Wares, Huntington Beach, Ca!if. ------ , 1985, Pih/iograA ade/Instituto Linguisticode Verano en e/ Mexico, 1935-1984, ed. M aria De Boc de Harris and M argarita H . de Da!y, Mexico City Taggart, James, 1983, Nahuat M yth and Social -Structure, Austin Taube, Karl A., 1983, "The Teotihuacan Spider Woman, " /ou rn al o f Latin American Lore 9:2, 107-89 -------, 1985, "The Classic Maya M aize God: A Reappraisal" F ilth P R T 1983, San Francisco, 171-81 -------, 1986, "The Teotihuacan Cave of Origin: The Iconography and Architecture of Emergence Mytho!ogy in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest," AES, 12, 51-86 -------, 1992, The M a/or Gods o f Ancient Yucatan, DOS 32 -------, and Bade, Bonnie L. 1991, An Appearance o f Aluhtecuhth in the Dresden Venus Pages, A R A M W 35 Tedlock, Barbara, 1982, Time and the Lhgh/and M aya, Albuquerque Tedlock, Dennis, 1985, Popo! Vuh. The Dehnitive Edition o f the M ayan Aooh o f the Dawn o f L ite and the C/ories o f Gods and Aingy, New York Tezozómoc, F . Alvarado, 1944, Crdnica mexicana escrita hacía e / año de i <59#, Mexico City -------, 1949, Grdnica mexic^yotl, Mexico City Thompson, J. Eric S., 1930, Ethnology o f the Mayas o f -Southern and Central Aritish Honduras, Field Mus. of Nat. Hist. Anthro. Series 18:2 -------, 1961, "A Blood-drawing Ceremony Painted on a M aya V ase/' EG M , 1, 13-20 -------, 1962, A Catalog o f M aya Hieroglyphs, Nor­ man, Okla -------, 1970, M aya History and Aehgion, Norman, Okla

214 -------, 1971, M aya Hieroglyphic Writing; 3rd edl tion, Norman, Okla -------, 1972, A Commentary on the Dresden Codex. Philadelphia Torquemada, Juan de, 1975-83, Monarquía indi ana, ed. M . Leon-Portilla, 7 vols, Mexico City Tovar Calendar, 1951, ed. G. K ublerandC. Gibson, New Haven Townsend, Richard, F ., 1979, State and Cosmos in the A rt o f Tenochtitlan, D O # 20 -------, 1992, 7he Aztecs, London and New York Tozzer, A. M ., 1907, A Comparative Study o f the M ayas and the Lacandones, London -------, 1957, Chichen ftzá and its Cenote o f Sacrihce, 2 vols, P M M 12 Trejo, Silvia, 1989, Escultura huaxteca de Alo Tamurh, Mexico City Troike, Nancy P. 1978, "Fundam ental Changes in the Interpretations of the Mixtee Codices," American Antiquity, 43:4, 553-68 Umberger, Em ily, 1981, Aztec Sculptures, Hiero­ glyphs, and History, Ph D. diss, Columbia Univ. -------, 1984, "E l trono de M octezum a," ECN, 17, 63-87 Urcid, Javier, 1992, Zapotee Hieroglyphic W riting, Ph D. diss, Yale Univ. Vaillant, Ceorge C ., 1927, The Chronological Sig­ nificance of M aya Ceramics, Ph D. diss. Harvard Univ. Villacorta, J. A ., and C. A. Villacorta, 1930, Cddices M aya, Guatemala C ity Villela F ., Samuel, 1989, "Cacahuazqui: nuevo testamonio rupestre olmeca en el oriente de Guerrero, Arqueología, 2, 37-48 Vogt, Evon Z., 1968, Zinacantan. A M aya Com­ m unity in the Highlands o f Chiapas, New York -------, 1976, Tortillas lo r the Cods. A Symbolic Analysis o f Zihacanteco Aituals, Cambridge, Mass Von W inning, Hasso, 1974, The Shalt Tomh Figures o f West Mexico, Los Angeles -------, 1987, La IconograAa de Teotihuacan, 2 vols, Mexico City -------, and Olga Hammer, 1972, Anecdotal Sculp­ ture o f West Mexico, Los Angeles W aldeck, Frederick de, 1838, Voyage pittoresque et archeologique dans la province d Tuca tan pendant les anndes 1#34 e t 1##3 Paris W ard, Fred, 1987, "Jade: Stone of Heaven," National Geographic Magazine, 172:3, 282-315 Wauchope, Robert, 1962, Lost Tribes and SunJren Continents, London Wilkerson, S. Jeffrey K ., 1980, "M an's Eighty Centuries in Veracruz," National Geographic Magazine, 1<5#.\2, fP S -S l W illey, Cordon R., and Jeremy A. Sabloff, 1980, A H lstoiy o f American Archaeology, San Francisco WinReld Capitaine, Fernando, 1988, La Estela 1 de La M o/arra, Veracruz, Mexico, RRAM W 16 Zimmermann, Gunter, 1956, D ie Hiercglyphen der M aya -Handschriften, Hamburg


Sources of Illustrations

Unless otherwise credited, all line drawings are by Karl Taube a = above c = center b = below 1= left r = right

Frontispiece Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico; page 8a Courtesy Peabody Museum, Harvard University; 8b Photo J. A. Sabloff; 12-13 Drawing Hanni Bailey; 16 Photo Mary Miller; 19 Photo O Rene Millón; 21a Photo J. A. Sabloff; 21bl Courtesy University Museum, Philadelphia; 21br Drawing P. P. Pratt after Ruz; 22 Drawing David Kiphuth, after photo by M. D. Coe; 23 Drawing P. P. Pratt; 25 Reconstruction painting Ignacio Marquina, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico; 27 Courtesy Frank Hole; 29 Drawing F. Pratt, after Carlo Gay, Xochipa?n. the beginning of 0?mcc Art, 1972; 31 After Matos Moctezuma, Greet 7e?np?e ofthe Aztecs, 1988; 34 After W. J. More and S. M. Higuera, Códice de %nhntt?en, 1940; 41c Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 43a After Matos Moctezuma, Great Yemp?e, 1988; 43c Sketch by Karl Weiditz, 1528; 45ca Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico; 45cb Drawing Linda Scheie; 47a From M. D. Coe, Mexico, 1984; 47cb Akademis­ che Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 51a After J. E. S. Thompson; 51b Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsan­ stalt; 53a Courtesy University Museum, Philadelphia; 53b From M. D. Coe, Breaking the Muye Code, 1992; drawing John Montgomery 55a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 55b Photo J. A. Sabloff; 57a From M. D. Coe, The Maya, 1987; 59a Courtesy American Museum of Natural History; 61a Photo M. D. Coe; 61c Theodor-Wilhelm Danzel, Mexiko 1, 1923, 61b Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris; 63a %ticanus Vo. 3773, 1902-1903; 65a After Matos Moctezuma, Great 7emp?e, 1988; 65c Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 65b Courtesy American Museum of Natural History; 67c Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 69a Drawing David Kiphuth, from Coe, Mexico, 1984; 71a Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 73a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 73c Courtesy Carter Brown Memorial Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; 73b After Hellmuth 1987; 75c Photo Salvador Cuilliem, courtesy Great Temple Project; 77a After A. Kidder, Arti/ects of Uaxactnn, Caatema/a, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Pub­ lication 576, 1947; 79a Courtesy Merseyside County Museums; 79b Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsan­ stalt; 81a, 81c Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 81b

Vatican Library, Rome; 83c Photo Salvador Guilliem, courtesy Great Temple Project; 85c Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 87a Akademische Druck-u. Verlag­ sanstalt; 87ca, 87b Theodor-Wilhelm Danzel, Mexiko f, 1923; 89a Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 89b Trustees of the British Museum; 91a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 91ca After Miguel Covarrubias, Inchon Art of Mexico end Centro? Mexico, 1957: fig. 72; 93a Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 93b Photo Salvador Guilliem, cour­ tesy Great Temple Project; 95b After Matos Moctezuma, Greet 7emp?e, 1988; 97b Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 99b From Alfred Tozzer, A Comperetiue Study of the Moyo end the Lecondones, 1907, 101c Akademische Druck-u. Ver­ lagsanstalt; 103a Photo Salvador Guilliem, courtesy Great Temple Project; 103c After Henderson 1981: pp. 154-155, Rg. 50; 105b Drawing Linda Scheie; 107a Drawing Linda Scheie; 109a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 111a Drawing Linda Scheie; 113a From Sahagún, Historio de ios Cosos de Vueue Espeñe, 1905; 115b Veticenus No. 3773,1902-1903; 117c Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 119c Drawing Linda Scheie; 119b From Codex Magliabechiano, facsimile edition (1904); 123a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 123b After Warwick Bray, Ecerydey Li/e of the Aztecs, 1968, Rg. 12 (drawing Eva Wilson); 125cb After M. D. Coe, Breeking the Moyo Code, 1992; drawing John Montgomery 127a After M. D. Coe and Richard Diehl, in the Lond of the Olmec, 1980 (drawing Felipe Dávalos); 127ca, 127cb After Peter David Joralemon, A Study of Obnec Iconogrophy, 1971; 127b From Dresden Codex; 129c, 129b Drawings Linda Scheie; 131ar After Nicholas Hellmuth 1987, drawing S. Reisinger; 131c After Miguel Covarrubias, fndien Art o f Mexico ond Centro? Mexico, 1957: Rg. 72; 133a Photo Irmgard Groth-Kimball; 133c From Codex Magliabechiano, facsimile edition (1904); 133b From William L. Fash, Scribes, Werriors ond Kings, 1991: 164 (drawing Barbara Fash); 137a Bodleian Library, Oxford; 139a From Eduard Seler, Gesomme?te Abhend ?ungen zttr Amerikenischen Sprech-und A?tertumskunde, 1902-1923; 139b From Codex Magliabechiano, fac­ simile edition (1904); 141a Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 141c Theodor-Wilhelm Danzel, Mexiko Í, 1923; 143c Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 145a Drawing Ian Graham, courtesy Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University; 147 Drawing Paul Schellhas, courtesy Peabody Museum of Archaeology and


ÍUL HCES OF ILLUSTRATIONS Ethnolog), Harvard University; 149a Drawing Stephen Houston, from S. Houston 1989: 149b Photo Salvador GuilRem. courtesv Great Temple Project; 151a, 151c Photos Trustees of the British Museum; 151b Drawing Linda Scheie: 153b Vatican Libran, Rome: 155c Photo courtesy Matthew Stirling and the National Geographic Society: 155b Photo Irmgard Croth-Kimbaii; 157b Photo A. P Maudslav. courtesv American Museum of Natural History: 159a After M. D. Coe and Richard Diehl, /n the the O/urec. 1980 (drawing Felipe Dávalos); 159c From Codex Borgia: 159b From Codex Magliabechiano, facsimile edition (1904); 161c Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 161b Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: 165c Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 165b Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico; 167a Theodor-Wilhelm Dánzek Mexico 7, 1923; 167c Bodleian Librar), Oxford; 167b Photo Salvador Cuílliem, courtesy Great Temple Project; 169a From Richard F. Townsend, The A^ecy, 1992 (drawing

2m Annick Peterson); 171a Akademische Dnrek u Verlagsanstalt; 171b Photo Alberti) Ruz !, !73a From Codex Borgia: 173b Drawing Linda Sf he!* 177a Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 177ca From Matos Moctezuma. Crrat Tbwp/r. 1988; !77cb Drawing David Stuart; 178 Akademische Dmek u Verlagsanstalt; 181a From Dresden Codex; 185c Drawing lan Graham, from Coe. The Ahu/n 1987: 186b After Miguel Covarrubias, 'Ll arte Olmeca o de La Venta." Cuar/emoA Americanos, 1946; 187c Courtesy Merseyside County Museums: 187b After M. D. Coe, Breaking the Mar/a Code, 1992; 189al Archivo General de la Nación. Mexico; 189ar Photo lrmg;u*d Groth-Kimball; 189b Archivo General de la Nación, Mexico; 191a Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico; 191ca Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; 191cb MzticanM.? No. 3773. 1902-3; 193b After Miguel Covarrubias, Indian Art r^Afexico and Centra/ Aíexico, 1957: Rg. 72.


A Ă&#x2030; ] -R . to this

^he myths and beliefs of the great Precolumbian civilizations of Mesoamerica have baffled and fascinated outsiders ever since the Spanish Conquest. Yet, until now, no single-volume introduction has existed to act as a guide labyrinthine symbolic world. In A?? AA(y^ nearly 300 entries, from accession to yoke, describe the main gods and symbols of the Olmecs, Zapotees, Maya, Teotihuacanos, Mixtees, Toltecs and Aztecs. Topics range from jaguar and jester gods to reptile eye and rubber, from creation accounts and sacred places to ritual practices such as bloodletting, confession, dance and pilgrimage. Two introductory essays provide succinct accounts of Mesoamerican history and religion, while a substantial bibliographical survey directs the reader to original sources and recent discussions. Dictionary entries are illustrated with photographs and commissioned line drawings.This is an authoritative work, a standard reference for students, scholars and travellers. Mary Miller, Professor of History of Art at Yale, is the author of TAf and co-author with Linda Scheie of both published by Thames and Hudson. Karl Taube, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside, is a leading scholar of Mesoamerican writing and iconography, and the author of

AAzyÂżzTUyiAy. Well-written and comprehensive . . . the book has not left my desk' A unique compendium of terms and their explanations . . . the erudition here is unmatched' ScAwf

)SBN 0 -5 0 0 -2 7 9 2 8 -4 TH A M ES AND H U D SO N 30 Bloomsbury Street, London WCiB 3 QP

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9

7 8 0 5 0 0 279281

An illustrated dictionary of the gods and symbols of ancient mexico and the maya  
An illustrated dictionary of the gods and symbols of ancient mexico and the maya  
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